Prevalence of gastro-esophageal reflux-related symptoms in Japanese infants

Pediatr Int. 2002 Oct;44(5):513-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-200x.2002.01609.x.


Background: To obtain precise information on the natural course of gastro-esophageal reflux (GER)-related symptoms in Japanese children, we surveyed the prevalence of regurgitation or vomiting and other GER-related symptoms and complications in infants visiting for healthy baby check-ups.

Methods: We interviewed the mothers of 921 infants who had visited for baby check-ups at 1, 4, 7 and 12 months after birth, about the number of regurgitation or vomiting episodes per day, other GER-related symptoms, milk volume, feeding interval, and the body position after feeding.

Results: Of 1-month-old infants, 47.1% had one or more regurgitation or vomiting episode per day. This proportion decreased to 28.8% at 4 months old and 6.4% at 7 months old. The proportion of infants with three or more episodes of these symptoms per day showed a similar pattern. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of regurgitation or vomiting between breast-fed infants and formula-fed or mixed-feeding infants either at 1 or 4 months of age. There was no significant difference in the bodyweight gain of 3-month-old infants among those with various degrees of regurgitation. There was no significant difference in the frequency of regurgitation or vomiting episodes between infants placed in a vertical position and those placed in a horizontal position after feeding. No infant had a history of chronic coughing, wheezing, bleeding or other serious conditions.

Conclusions: Regurgitation is a common symptom in Japanese infants and decreases spontaneously with age. The natural history of GER must be taken into consideration when deciding the treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Time Factors
  • Vomiting / epidemiology