What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)- ?
GERD occurs when stomach contents move upward into the esophagus (tube between the mouth and stomach) and sometimes into the mouth. This irritates the lining of the esophagus, creating a burning feeling in your chest behind the breastbone also called acid reflux. Your child may be diagnosed with GERD if he or she experiences heartburn and acid reflux more than twice per week or if the symptoms interfere with your child’s daily activities. Most babies will outgrow GERD. In children, the disease is manageable.
What are the causes?
- Anything that causes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax or anything that creates pressure below the LES. Examples are:
- Certain foods, drinks and medications
Treatments for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)– :
- Elevating the head of the baby's crib
- Holding the baby upright for 30 minutes after a feeding
- Thickening bottle feedings with cereal (consult a doctor first)
- Changing feeding schedules
- Trying solid food (consult a doctor first)
- Elevating the head of the child's bed o Keeping the child upright for at least two hours after eating
- Portion control - serving several small meals throughout the day rather than large meals
- Limiting foods and beverages that worsen your child's acid reflux symptoms
- Encouraging your child to get regular exercise
- Medication to lessen gas
- Medication to neutralize or decrease stomach acid
- Medication to improve intestinal coordinattion (i.e., speeding up digestion by increasing stomach contractions)
- Rarely surgery – Nissen Fundoplication
- The top part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus forming a “cuff” that will contract and close off the LES, preventing acid reflux. Note: there is risk to this surgery. Be sure to
What can I do?
Know which foods and drinks cause your child to experience acid reflux and avoid them
Encourage regular exercise to help your child maintain a healthy weight
Have your child avoid tight fitting clothing that can put pressure on the stomach and LES
Call your child’s doctor if he or she has difficulty swallowing or symptoms do not go away
It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
- Frequent or recurrent vomiting
- Frequent or persistent cough
- Refusing to eat or difficulty eating (choking or gagging)
- Crying with feeding
- Heartburn, gas, or abdominal pain