U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Children and Teens

Definition and Facts for GER and GERD in Children and Teens
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when stomach contents come back up into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious and long-lasting form of GER.
Symptoms & Causes of GER and GERD in Children and Teens
The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in children 12 years and older is regular heartburn. GERD happens when a person’s lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t.
Diagnosis of GER and GERD in Children and Teens
​If a child’s gastroesophageal reflux (GER) symptoms don’t improve, he or she may need testing for a gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diagnosis.
Treatment for GER and GERD in Children and Teens
​Treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) depends on the severity of a child or teen’s symptoms and may include lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery.
Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for GER and GERD in Children and Teens
A child or teen can reduce gastroesophageal reflux (GER) by avoiding foods and drinks that make his or her symptoms worse.
Clinical Trials for GER and GERD Children and Teens
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.​​

This content was produced by the Clearinghouse and carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts. This publication was reviewed by William E. Whitehead, Ph. D., University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders.