How Prevalent Is GERD Among Adults and Children?


Heartburn, or acid reflux, is a health issue impacting people in every stage of life. If it develops into a persistent health problem, however, it is frequently identified as gastroesophageal reflux disease, generally referred to as GERD. Acid reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach reverse course and push back toward the esophagus. This can lead an individual to have a number of disagreeable symptoms, such as heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), among others. At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists diagnose and treat chronic cases of acid reflux in adults and kids throughout the DFW area. Continue reading to learn details about how common GERD actually is and when to contact our GI doctors for treatment.

What is the prevalence of GERD among children and adults?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is often diagnosed when a person experiences acid indigestion symptoms greater than two times each week that are accompanied by inflammation in the esophagus. Around 20 percent of U.S. adults experience GERD, and approximately 10 percent of children show signs of GERD at least once per week. In the absence of proper treatment, this GI disease could result in a variety of additional digestive complications, including damage to the esophagus, painful sores in the esophagus, and a condition known as Barrett’s syndrome. Scheduling a visit with a gastrointestinal specialist at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in DFW can help identify the condition early on and decrease the risk of progression.

Causes of acid reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can begin early in a person's life and can even impact infants. GERD often develops when the esophageal sphincter relaxes or cannot keep contents of the stomach from regurgitating into the esophagus. Common factors that can cause acid reflux disease in adults and children include:

  • Increased acid production in the stomach
  • Lasting dry cough
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Tobacco smoke exposure
  • Certain medications
  • Food intolerance
  • Some foods and drinks (like chocolate, coffee, and peppermint)
  • Loosening of the esophageal sphincter
  • Stomach hernia

How are GERD symptoms alleviated?

Adults and kids who have acid reflux disease may have several unpleasant symptoms, in addition to the most common, which is heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux disease are:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Repeated belching
  • Laryngitis
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Feeling of something lodged in the chest
  • Weight loss
  • Oral malodor

The qualified GI specialists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants provide care for patients in DFW with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD symptoms might be alleviated or controlled through changes in lifestyle habits (like smoking cessation and weight loss), over-the-counter or prescription drugs, and changes in diet. For some patients, a surgical approach, like fundoplication, could be required to tauten the muscle between the stomach and esophagus.

Find treatment for GERD in DFW

Acid reflux may be a common health problem, but it could affect your comfort, health, and quality of life in many ways. For additional details on the incidence of GERD in children in adults or to find assistance with chronic acid reflux discomfort, please contact Texas Digestive Disease Consultants. Our board-certified gastroenterologists in DFW maintain the expertise needed to help patients of all ages enjoy improved GI health.