Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that occurs when stomach contents regurgitate into the esophagus. It is also known as acid reflux. An abnormality or weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle where the esophagus and stomach meet) impedes the body’s natural anti-reflux mechanism. 

What are the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease?

  • Heartburn 
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

How is gastroesophageal reflux disease diagnosed?

Our pediatric gastroenterologists will review your child's history of signs and symptoms and conduct a physical examination. We may also do tests, including:

  • Manometry
  • pH probe
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Upper GI series or barium swallow X-ray, which shows acid reflux and inflammation of the esophagus

What is the treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease?

To start, treatment may include:

  • Medical therapy, such as anti-acid medications and proton pump inhibitors
  • Lifestyle modifications

When medical therapy is ineffective, surgical intervention may be needed:

  • Laparoscopic fundoplication surgery restores the physiologic equivalent of the lower esophageal sphincter by wrapping the stomach around the lower esophagus.