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Reflux and heartburn in children and young people

Reflux and heartburn in children and young people

Information about reflux

Reflux can affect children and young people, as well as adults, of all ages. Reflux happens to all of us from time to time, but when it causes painful symptoms that happen regularly, or additional problems, healthcare professionals call it acid reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GORD for short. For more information, see the section on what is meant by 'reflux, regurgitation and heartburn'?

Reflux can sometimes affect children and young people who have problems with their muscles and nervous system, such as cerebral palsy. It can also affect children who have asthma.

Being overweight can make reflux symptoms worse, so if a child or young person is overweight, losing weight may help. The healthcare team can give more help and advice about this. See the NICE guideline on obesity.

Seeing a healthcare professional

If a child or young person has reflux, the healthcare professional will ask questions to find out as much as possible about the problem, and will ask specifically about their symptoms. The healthcare professional will also ask about how the child is generally, and if there are any other symptoms or health concerns. They may ask questions about the child's previous medical history and your family history to find out if the child is at particular risk of reflux.

If the healthcare professional thinks that there may be something else causing the symptoms, they may find it helpful to do tests, or they may suggest seeing a specialist. For more information, see the section on what tests might be needed?

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