Pediatric Reflux

Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR), or simply reflux, is when stomach contents go back up the oesophagus.

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Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR), or simply reflux, is when stomach contents go back up the oesophagus.

Reflux is common in infants, because the valve at the top of the stomach is often a little loose, allowing stomach contents to move back up the oesophagus. As your baby grows, usually this valve strengthens and reflux resolves by the age of one year. In most cases, reflux doesn’t cause harm or require treatment.

Sometimes, though, reflux becomes a more serious condition called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), which requires medical attention.

Signs and Symptoms

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A baby with reflux may vomit, especially after feeds, but is otherwise well and not distressed.

Babies and young children with GORD may experience:

  • Pain or discomfort in their chest or upper abdomen, causing irritability, excessive crying or back arching
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Poor weight gain
  • Difficult breathing and swallowing.

Consult a doctor if your child shows symptoms of GORD. Your doctor may advise feeding a baby thickened fluids, or prescribe medications to reduce stomach acid or treat an underlying infection. It may also help to reduce reflux by holding your baby in a more upright position when feeding, and for about 20 minutes afterwards. In older children, dietary changes such as identifying and excluding foods that cause excess production of stomach acid, may be recommended.




Reflux (GOR) and GORD. The Royal Children’s Hospital Emergency, Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition departments. Reviewed May 2018. Available from: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Reflux_GOR_and_GORD/

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