Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease—Child

(GERD—Child; Chronic Heartburn—Child; Reflux Esophagitis—Child; Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease—Child; GORD—Child; Heartburn—Child; Reflux—Child)

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Definition

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the back up of acid or food from the stomach to the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. GER is common in infants. It may cause them to spit up. Most infants outgrow GER within 12 months.GER that progresses to esophageal injury and other symptoms is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The backed-up acid irritates the lining of the esophagus. It causes heartburn, a pain in the stomach and chest.GERD can occur at any age.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
si1347 97870 1 gerd
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Causes

GERD is caused by acid or food from the stomach that regularly backs up into the esophagus. It is not always clear why the acid backs up. The reasons may vary from person to person. There may also be a genetic link in some GERD.Acid is kept in the stomach by a valve at the top of the stomach. The valve opens when food comes in. It should close to keep in the food and acid. If this valve does not close properly, the acid can flow out of the stomach. In addition to GERD, the valve may not close because of:
  • Problems with the nerves that make the valve open or close
  • Increased pressure in the stomach
  • Irritation in the stomach or muscles of the valve
  • Problem with the valve itself

Risk Factors

The following factors increase the chances of developing GERD:

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