Patricia Kellicker, BSN
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder that results from food and stomach acid backing up into the esophagus from the stomach. GERD is different from gastroesophageal reflux (GER). GER is a common disorder seen in infants, which causes them to spit up. Most infants outgrow GER within 12 months.
This condition can cause serious health issues. Treatment for GERD includes lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes surgery.
Food travels down the esophagus to the stomach. The opening between the esophagus and stomach opens to let food enter the stomach. Normally, it closes as soon as the food enters the stomach. With GERD, the opening does not close tightly. Stomach acid flows into the esophagus, called acid reflux, causing a burning sensation.
The following factors contribute to GERD:
The following may increase the risk of GERD in adolescents:
If your teen has any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to GERD. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions.
Symptoms may include:
Your doctor will ask about your teen’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Talk with your teen's doctor about the best treatment plan. Treatment options include the following:
Before recommending medication, your teen's doctor may suggest lifestyle changes. These may include:
Foods to avoid may include:
Medication will help relieve symptoms and heal any damage to the esophagus. Many medications for GERD are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
Your teen's doctor may recommend the following:
In more severe cases, the doctor may recommend surgery or endoscopy. The most common surgery is called
fundoplication. During this procedure, the surgeon wraps part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter. This makes the sphincter stronger and prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. In many cases, this procedure can be done through small incisions in the skin, called
There are no guidelines to prevent GERD.
Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
About Kids Health
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
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Last reviewed April 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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