Young boy with an apple slice

Pediatric GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, has a variety of symptoms in children, and can be hard to diagnose. The specialists at MaineHealth offer state-of-the-art services to help understand your child’s symptoms and provide treatment. 

What is GERD?

GERD happens when the flap or muscle at the end of the esophagus will not close properly. Food in the stomach can reflux or leak. This causes a burning sensation or “heartburn.”

What are the symptoms of GERD?

  • Spitting up (past the first year)

  • Wet burping

  • Only eats small amounts or not at all

  • Wheezing or choking

  • Not gaining weight

  • Spitting up

  • Vomiting

Primary care is your first stop for care

Whether you have a pediatrician for the kids and an internal medicine doc for the adults -- or the entire family sees a family medicine doctor -- MaineHealth has the primary care providers to meet your needs.

Diagnosing GERD in children

The provider may ask that a record be kept of foods eaten to determine the triggers. In younger kids and babies a doctor may suggest some tests. These tests include:

  • Barium Swallow

  • Upper endoscopy

  • 24-hour impedance-probe study

  • Milk scans

GERD treatment in children

Treatment of GERD will vary. It depends on how severe the GERD is for the child. Some treatments include:

  • Medication

  • Staying away from food that can make GERD worse, like spicy foods, citrus or tomato-based foods

  • Losing weight

  • Changing medications

  • Adjusting the angle of the child’s bed

Healthcare just for kids

Discover the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, Maine's only full-service children's hospital.