Acid Reflux Disease in Children

Some people don’t realize that kids suffer from GERD as well as adults. For example, a mother named Cathy had been listening to her 11-year-old son cough during the night and it began to happen during the day as well. His doctor said the short dry coughing was due to allergies, but testing for this came back negative. Cathy now feels that her little boys’ asthma is related to GERD.

Acid Reflux Disease in Children
Acid Reflux Disease in Children

Medical experiments have determined that babies and kids can also have GERD, not just adults. In children, it is often misdiagnosed. A new baby’s digestive system is not yet fully developed and GERD will usually disappear at age one. However many kids exhibit respiratory trouble, coughing and are sick quite often this could be normal or this could be GERD.

If a child has a hard time swallowing his meals it could stunt his growth. Therefore any stomach acid problems should be attended to right away, before the child experiences chronic GERD.

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For babies, there are a couple of things parents can do to prevent acid reflux. Be sure the baby stays upright after eating for about a half-hour and burp them several times while feeding them. Children of age 3 or beyond should not drink carbonated beverages, coffee or tea. They should not be eating acidic citrus fruit, fried food or fatty food. No spicy meals should be allowed and no chocolate. Doing all this should limit or eliminate acid reflux in children.

Just like adults, kids should have only a small dinner and it should be eaten more than 3 hours before bed. And raising the head of the bed at least 30 degrees will help as well.

Medicinal options include Prevacid, proton inhibitors and H2 blocking agents, which can all be found at the medicine counter or antacid aisle. This type of solution should work in most cases.

In extreme cases, if over-the-counter meds do not work, a physician might recommend a surgical option for cases where the effects of acid reflux are traumatizing the child’s life. If nothing else has worked, then oesophagal reflux surgery may be suggested, but this will need to be repeated as the child gets older.

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When do you need to take your child to the doctor? If your child has any problem breathing, pain when trying to swallow, vomiting yellow or green bloody vomit that might look like coffee grounds – you need to go to the doctor right away.

Remember not to let your child bend over immediately after eating or go to sleep after eating a big meal. Watch carefully for any problems and don’t ignore them, since acid reflux disease can lead to dangerous health issues and your child might even end up in the hospital.

It’s always best to take your child to doctors to make sure that there is nothing worrying. Children can also follow diets to reduce the complications of acid reflux and GERD. Children usually get rid of the disease easily.

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Common signs of reflux include:

  • heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat). It can last up to 2 hours and tends to be worse after meals and when lying down
  • burping
  • frequent hiccups
  • frequent spitting up or vomiting, especially after meals
  • the feeling of stomach acid coming up into the back of the throat
  • acidic or bad breath
  • frequent cavities, especially in the back teeth, despite good brushing

Signs of GER in babies and young children include:

  • choking or wheezing (if the contents of the reflux get into the windpipe and lungs)
  • wet burps or wet hiccups
  • spitting up that continues beyond a child’s first birthday (when it stops for most babies)
  • irritability or inconsolable crying after eating
  • refusing to eat or eating only small amounts
  • failure to gain weight

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