What are the complications and risk factors for GERD and acid reflux in infants and children?

What are the complications and risk factors for GERD and acid reflux in infants and children?

What are the complications and risk factors for GERD and acid reflux in infants and children?

Complications

  • Reflux in infants typically resolves by itself without resulting in any additional issues or complications for the infant. However, should the infant or child suffer from GERD, then he or she may start to show signs of poor growth and development.Other complications are very rare in infants and children.
  • If the oesophagus is exposed to stomach acid for an extended period of time and this remains untreated, then the lining of the oesophagus may change and areas of the oesophagus may become damaged or narrower due to inflammation and tissue trying to repair itself. This can lead to oesophageal strictures or precancerous conditions, although the development of these complications is very uncommon in children.
  • There are some studies that show that infants who have more frequent episodes of spitting up, may be more at risk of developing GERD in the later years of their childhood.

Risk factors

As mentioned previously, GERD is commonly seen during a baby’s first year of their life and will often resolve on its own. However, your child has a higher risk of developing GERD if she or he has one of the following conditions1:

  • Neuromuscular conditions, for example, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome 

 

References:

  1. Health Encyclopaedia. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in Children. Available: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P01994. [Accessed 29.08.2017]

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