Gastro oesophageal reflux refers to the involuntary passing of stomach content into the oesophagus. It is a relatively common condition, particularly in babies. Symptoms of reflux in babies include regurgitation of feeds, recurrent respiratory tract infections, feeding difficulties, poor weight gain, chronic cough and even acute life threatening events. Fortunately, the majority of reflux cases in babies resolve spontaneously as your baby grows up. Older children with reflux often complain of heartburn or abdominal pain.
Not all children with reflux require medication or surgery. Sometimes changes in diet and lifestyle may be all that is required. Your child may however require medication and/ or surgery to correct their reflux. Each child's case is treated individually using all options available to achieve the safest and best outcome for them and you as a family.
Surgery for reflux involves correcting any anatomical reasons for the reflux such as a hiatus hernia (stomach sliding into the chest), as well as creating an anti-reflux valve at the top of the stomach to prevent stomach content from moving back into the oesophagus. This operation is called a fundoplication. After a fundoplication, when your child eats/drinks and the pressure in the stomach rises as it fills up, the valve mechanism closes off and the contents will no longer be pushed back up the oesophagus.