Munson Health
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease -- Infant

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by Kellicker PG

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


Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your baby's risk of GERD include:


Your doctor will ask about your baby’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your baby may need to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who focuses on problems of the stomach and intestines.
Your baby's bodily fluids and tissues may need to be tested. This can be done with an upper endoscopy with biopsy.
Other tests may include:
  • 24-hour pH monitoring—a probe is placed in the esophagus to keep track of the acid in the lower esophagus
  • Short trial of medicine—success or failure of medication may help your doctor understand the cause


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. Treatment options include the following:

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle change can help improve symptoms. Your doctor may suggest these lifestyle changes:
Lifestyle change can help improve symptoms. Your doctor may suggest these lifestyle changes:


In most cases, treatment starts with making lifestyle changes. Medication may be given if your baby's GERD doesn't improve. The medication can help to decrease acid in the stomach and help the area heal. Medication options may include:
  • Histamine-2 receptor drugs—to decrease acid production and promote healing
  • Proton pump inhibitors—also decreases acid production and promote healing


Surgery or endoscopy may be recommended with more severe cases.
The most common surgery is called fundoplication . During this procedure, a part of the stomach will be wrapped around the stomach valve. This makes the valve stronger. It should prevent stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. This surgery is often done through small incisions in the skin.

RESOURCES—North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN)

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)



About Kids Health

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation



Gastroesophageal reflux disease in infants. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 22, 2012. Accessed May 10, 2013.

Gastroesophageal reflux in infants. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: Updated February 21, 2012. Accessed May 10, 2013.

Pediatric GE reflux clinical practice guidelines. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2001;32:S1-S31.

1/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Orenstein SR, McGowan JD. Efficacy of conservative therapy as taught in the primary care setting for symptoms suggesting infant gastroesophageal reflux. J Pediatr. 2008;152:310-314. Epub 2007 Nov 7.


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