Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when stomach contents come back up into the esophagus. Infants-babies younger than 2 years-with GER spit up liquid mostly made of saliva and stomach acid. Stomach acid that touches the lining of the infant's esophagus can cause heartburn, also called acid indigestion.
Doctors also refer to GER as
GER is common in infants. About half of all infants spit up, or regurgitate, many times a day in the first 3 months of their lives. In most cases, infants stop spitting up between the ages of 12 and 14 months.1
GERD is a more serious and long-lasting form of GER in which acid reflux irritates the esophagus.
Infants with symptoms that prevent them from feeding or those with GER that lasts more than 12 to 14 months may actually have GERD.
GERD is common in infants. Two-thirds of 4-month-olds have symptoms of GERD. By 1 year old, up to 10 percent of infants have symptoms of GERD.1
The main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants is spitting up more than they normally do. Infants with GERD can also have some or all of the following recurring symptoms:
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when an infant's lower esophageal sphincter is not fully developed, and the muscle lets the stomach contents back up the esophagus. Once the stomach contents move up into the esophagus, the infant will regurgitate, or spit up. Once an infant's sphincter muscle fully develops, he or she should no longer spit up.
GERD happens when an infant's lower esophageal sphincter muscle becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn't. This weakness or relaxation lets the stomach contents come back up into the esophagus.