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 causing heartburn (also called acid reflux). 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 (also called acid reflux). 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 such as heartburn 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 is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

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