What Is the Percentage of Kids and Adults With GERD?


Acid reflux is a digestive problem impacting individuals in every stage of life. If it advances to a persistent health concern, however, it is often diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Acid reflux occurs when food and stomach acid in the stomach reverse course and push back toward the esophagus. This can cause patients to endure a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn) among others. At GI Alliance, our gastrointestinal specialists commonly diagnose and treat GERD in adults and children of all ages. Continue reading to find out more about the prevalence and symptoms of GERD and when to get in touch with a GI Alliance practice near you for care.

What is the prevalence of acid reflux among kids and adults?

GERD is typically diagnosed when a person experiences acid reflux episodes of greater than two times a week that are accompanied by inflammation in the esophageal area. Around one out of five adults in the United States are living with gastroesophageal reflux disease, and approximately 10% of kids exhibit symptoms of acid reflux at least once a week. In the absence of professional help, GERD could increase the risk of a range of additional gastrointestinal issues, such as esophagitis, esophageal ulcerations, and Barrett’s esophagus. Visiting a gastrointestinal specialist at GI Alliance can detect acid reflux disease early on and lessen the risk of its progression.

The causes of GERD in children and adults

Problems with acid reflux can start early in a person's life, including during infancy. Gastroesophageal reflux disease may result when the muscle between the stomach and esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) is weakened or is unable to inhibit the passage of stomach contents from regurgitating upward into the esophagus. Common factors that can lead to acid reflux disease are:

  • Continuous dry cough
  • Intolerance to certain foods
  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Elevated stomach acid production
  • Obesity
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Slackening of the esophageal sphincter
  • Some medications
  • Certain foods and drinks (such as peppermint, coffee, and chocolate)

Can symptoms of GERD be relieved?

Children and adults affected by acid reflux disease might have a variety of bothersome symptoms. The most common of these is heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux disease are:

  • Inflammation of the larynx
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Sensation of something stuck in the throat
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Repeated belching

The qualified gastroenterologists at GI Alliance commonly provide treatment for children and adults throughout the United States who suffer from chronic acid reflux disease. The symptoms of GERD may be eased or managed via lifestyle improvements (such as weight loss and smoking cessation), over-the-counter or prescription drugs, and improved nutrition. For some patients, surgical procedures, like fundoplication, might be carried out to improve the condition of the esophageal sphincter.

Receive specialized care for acid reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease may be a common digestive health condition, but it can affect your quality of life, health, and comfort in many ways. For more information about the incidence of acid reflux among adults and kids or to find expert care for chronic acid reflux symptoms, reserve a consultation at a GI Alliance location in your community. Our board-certified GI doctors provide the skills and expertise needed to help you and your family enjoy improved digestive health.