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Digestive Disease Information

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Infants

Definition and Facts for GER and GERD in Infants
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 and may prevent an infant from feeding.
Symptoms & Causes of GER and GERD in Infants
​The main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants is spitting up more than they normally do. Other symptoms include colic, vomiting, and refusing to eat. GERD happens when an infant’s lower esophageal sphincter is not fully developed.
Diagnosis of GER and GERD in Infants
​If an infant’s GER symptoms don’t improve or if they come back frequently, he or she may need testing for GERD. Tests may include an upper GI endoscopy, an upper GI series, or esophageal pH monitoring.
Treatment for GER and GERD in Infants
Treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) depends on the infant’s symptoms and age and may involve feeding changes, medicines, or surgery.
Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for GERD in Infants
​If feeding changes don’t help an infant’s gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, a doctor may suggest a higher-calorie formula or tube feedings.​​​
Clinical Trials for GER and GERD in Infants
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.