Silent reflux can be very confusing; there may be no obvious signs of gastro-oesophageal reflux (such as vomiting) and the child generally isn’t ‘silent’. Silent reflux refers to refluxed material that flows back into the oesophagus, but isn’t forced out of the mouth.
Parents describe some of the behaviours and characteristics that may be displayed by babies and children who have gastro-oesophageal reflux. Keep in mind that all children are different and the listed characteristics may not be indicative of your child's condition.
The word reflux means to flow back or return; ‘gastro’ is a term related to the stomach; and ‘oesophageal’ relates to the oesophagus (food pipe). Following this, the term ‘gastro-oesophageal reflux’ is where stomach contents (comprising food and stomach acid) flow back into the oesophagus.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux can range in severity from being an occasional nuisance, to being severe and debilitating; it can also improve or worsen for a variety of reasons, with a child having good or bad days or weeks.