Acid Reflux In Children

Acid reflux in children is becoming a common problem these days. The acid reflux or the Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach contents back up into the esophagus during or after a meal. There is a ring of muscle called the esophageal sphincter (LES) at the bottom of the esophagus which opens upward and allows the stomach contents to back up into the esophagus.

In some children, it remains in the esophagus, damaging the esophageal lining. In others, the acidic contents of the stomach goes up into the mouth and swallowed again. This acidic content passes into the back of mouth and goes to wind pipe.

Symptoms Of Acidic Reflux In Children:

It is not true that all children who vomit have acid reflux and not all children who have acid reflux vomit. These children can have more subtle symptoms. The symptoms of acid reflux can be easily recognised in adults, but is a bit harder to recognise in babies. The symptoms include-

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting of gastric acids or bile.
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Persistent cough
  • Recurrent pneumonia
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Bad breath
  • Eating only a few bites despite hunger
  • Sinus infections
  • Frequent ear infections or ear congestion

Treatment Of Acid Reflux:

In Children-
The doctor prescribes the treatment depending on the child’s age and symptoms. Doctor first suggests the lifestyle modification to ease the problem. If this still continues, he would suggest some remedies-

  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods, citrus fruits, chocolates, caffeine beverages.
  • Avoid food 2 to 3 hours before sleep.
  • Antacids- this neutralizes the stomach acids.antacids. Mylanta, Maalox and Tums are some antacids.
  • Acid suppressors- these suppress stomach acid production. Pepcid, Tagamet, Axid and Zantac are some antacids.
  • Acid blockers- these completely block the stomach acid production. Prevacid, Nexium, Protonix and Aciphex are some acid blockers.

In Babies:

  • A doctor advises burping the baby several times during feeding or keeping the baby in an upright position for 30 minutes after feeding.
  • Thickening the bottle feeding with cereals (under doctor’s supervision).
  • Changing feeding schedules.

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