An explanation of Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux and treatment options.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR)

The majority of new born babies have a degree of gastro-oesophageal reflux which may be obvious with vomiting, or silent with arching of the back when feeding, irritability or so called "colic" type symptoms.

Smaller, more frequent feeds and keeping the babies relatively upright throughout the day and night will often help with the symptoms. Some babies will, however require medication to lower the production of acid in the stomach, which results in less irritation of the lower oesophagus and less symptoms of discomfort. Other medications which empty the stomach more efficiently may sometimes be required.

The majority of babies with GOR, settle within 3 months of birth. Others can persist until solids are commenced and a more upright posture such as sitting or standing occurs.

If despite treatment with medication, weight loss, recurrent chest infections, anaemia or damage to the oesophagus occur as a result of the refluxing acid, then an operation to stop the reflux will be necessary.

A fundoplication is an operation in which the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the oesophagus and the diaphragm is tightened around the oesophagus. When required, this operation can be performed laparoscopically or open and is very successful.