What are the symptoms of GERD?

GER and EER in children often have relatively few symptoms until a problem exists (GERD). The most common initial symptom of GERD is heartburn. Heartburn is more common in adults, whereas children have a harder time describing this sensation. They usually will complain of a stomachache or chest discomfort, particularly after meals.

More frequent or severe EER or GER can cause other problems in the stomach, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, lungs, sinuses, ears and even the teeth. Consequently, other typical symptoms could include:

  • crying/irritability
  • poor appetite/feeding and swallowing difficulties
  • failure to thrive/weight loss
  • regurgitation (“wet burps” or outright vomiting)
  • stomach aches (dyspepsia)
  • abdominal/chest pain (heartburn)
  • sore throat
  • hoarseness
  • apnea
  • laryngeal and tracheal stenoses
  • asthma/wheezing
  • chronic sinusitis
  • ear infections/fluid
  • dental cavities

Effortless regurgitation is very suggestive of GER. However, recurrent vomiting (which is not the same) does not necessarily mean a child has GER.

Unlike infants, the adolescent child will not necessarily resolve GERD on his or her own. Accordingly, if your child displays the typical symptoms of GERD, a visit to a pediatrician is warranted. However, in some circumstances, the disorder may cause significant ear, nose, and throat disorders. When this occurs, an evaluation by an otolaryngologist is recommended.

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