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Term Definition
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Refers to the passage of gastric contents into the esophagus or oropharynx; with or without vomiting. GER can be a daily, normal physiological occurrence in infants, children and adolescents. Most episodes of GER in healthy individuals last less than 3 minutes, occur after eating, and cause few or no troublesome symptoms. Regurgitation or spitting up is the most obviously visible symptom to caregivers and pediatricians, particularly in the very young child, occurring daily in about 50% of infants less than 3 months of age. Regurgitation resolves spontaneously in most healthy infants by 12-14 months of age. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to the symptoms and complications that may develop secondary to persistent GER. If left untreated, GERD can cause chronic inflammation of the esophagus and lungs, esophageal strictures (scars that narrow the esophagus), stomach ulcers, breathing problems, and an increased risk for esophageal cancer.

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