Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

woman heartburn chest pain acid reflux

GERD must be treated because it can be very painful and can interfere with nutrition and normal weight gain.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that causes the acidic contents in the stomach to move backward into the esophagus, can affect both children and adults and is typically characterized by frequent vomiting or heartburn after meals.

This occurs because the muscle that connects the esophagus with the stomach (esophageal sphincter) relaxes at the wrong time or doesn’t close at all. While GERD has an inherited component, anyone can develop it. Babies generally get it because of an immature digestive system.

{ MORE: It Happened to My Baby: Infant Reflux }

Symptoms of GERD in Infants and Children

  • Spitting up, hiccups, or wet burps past one year of age
  • Frequent vomiting, choking, or wheezing after meals (from reflux entering windpipe and lungs)
  • Inconsolable or irritable crying after eating
  • Refusal to eat at all or in very limited quantities
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Abdominal pain, colicky behavior, and gas
  • Older kids exhibit heartburn, stomach, and chest discomfort up to two hours after meals

These symptoms generally get worse if the child lies down or is put into a car seat after consumption. Most outgrow GERD between 1 and 2 years old, but children with developmental or neurological conditions are at a greater risk for more severe and prolonged symptoms.

Common Foods that Cause GERD

  • Peppermint products
  • Spicy foods containing garlic, onions, or tomato-based foods and sauces
  • Caffeine
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate

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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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