Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus, and reflux means to flow back or return.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the return of acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids, back up into the esophagus. GER is very common in infants, though it can occur at any age. It is the most common cause of vomiting during infancy.
Some infants and children who have gastroesophageal reflux may not vomit, but may still have stomach contents move up the esophagus and spill over into the windpipe. This can cause asthma, pneumonia and possibly SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Infants and children with GERD who vomit frequently may not gain weight and grow normally. Inflammation (esophagitis) or ulcers (sores) can form in the esophagus due to contact with stomach acid.