Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes called acid reflux, is a digestive disorder that can occur at any age. The board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists with Norton Children’s Gastroenterology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the experience to treat GERD in children.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is when the acidic stomach juices, food and/or fluids flow back into the esophagus.
GER is common in children under age 2 and usually does not cause issues. Babies can spit up a few times a day during the first three months of life. They tend to outgrow this by 12 to 14 months old. Older children can experience GER from time to time. GER usually is a temporary condition, but GERD is a more serious and long-term issue.
The most common cause of GER is a relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus; it opens to let food go into the stomach and closes to keep the stomach closed. When the LES relaxes, it lets stomach fluid escape into the esophagus and a child may have a bad taste in their mouth, vomiting or heartburn.
GER becomes GERD when:
Each child may experience different symptoms. Common symptoms of GERD include:
The board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists with Norton Children’s Gastroenterology will work with you and your child to develop a unique care plan. Treatment will be based on your child’s age, current health and the extent of GERD. Treatment may include: