Get answers to your GERD/LERD questions.
Reflux - infants
Gastroesophageal reflux is a condition in which stomach contents leak backward from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach) after eating. This article discusses reflux in infants.
When a person eats, food passes from the throat to the stomach through the esophagus. The esophagus is called the food pipe or swallowing tube.
Once food is in the stomach, a ring of muscle fibers prevents food from moving backward into the esophagus. These muscle fibers are called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.
If this muscle doesn't close well, food can leak back into the esophagus.This is called gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
In infants, a small amount of gastroesophageal reflux is normal. In fact, more than half a babies will have reflux during their first three months.
Persistent reflux with frequent vomiting leads to irritation of the esophagus and fussiness in the infant. Reflux associated with weight loss or reflux that causes breathing difficulty is considered abnormal.
Orenstein S, Peters J, Khan S, Youssef N, Hussain SZ. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 320.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885