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How To Treat Heartburn In A Child

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help Treat My Child’s Reflux Or Gerd

Taking Care of Your Children : How to Cure Heartburn in Children

Sometimes reflux and GERD in children can be treated with lifestyle changes:

  • Losing weight, if needed
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing around the abdomen
  • Staying upright for 3 hours after meals and not reclining and slouching when sitting
  • Sleeping at a slight angle. Raise the head of your child’s bed 6 to 8 inches by safely putting blocks under the bedposts.

What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.

GER can happen in adults and kids, even babies. Its normal and most kids who have gastroesophageal reflux outgrow it over time. Changes in diet can help, but some kids might need medical treatment.

Reflux that happens a lot and causes problems like poor growth, vomiting, or damage to the esophagus is called GERD . GERD is more serious than GER and is usually treated with medicine.

How What And When

Watch how you eat: Dont inhale giant mouthfuls of food. Take smaller bites and eat slowly, allowing your stomach time to digest and without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid.

Watch what you eat: Youre probably aware that specific foods trigger heartburn, usually foods high in acid or spicy foods. Avoid these as best you can to ward off

Watch when you eat: Dont eat within 3-4 hours before bed. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through.

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Home Remedies For Heartburn In Children

Abnormal reflux due to acidic stomach contents causing a burning and sometimes painful sensation in heart is termed as heartburn.

In medical terms it is called as Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease caused from stomach acids that backflow into the esophagus .

It is hard to believe for some people that children, too suffer with heartburn like they do but heartburn is a common problem with children.

Gerd: A Problematic Recurring Problem

Pin on Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD, LPR

GERD is a chronic and more serious form of GER. The reflux of food or liquid from the stomach enters the esophagus or even the mouth. GERD recurs and persists and can cause problems ranging from feeding and growth disturbances in infants to nighttime wakening, teething problems, heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing.

For infants and children with respiratory diseases, neurological problems, feeding disorders, and otherwise healthy children, GERD is a concern. In many cases, GERD causes mild symptoms but, in some children, GERD can cause significant complications like esophagitis, which can worsen symptoms, cause other outcomes like iron deficiency or anemia, and can affect teething, sleep, and possibly lead to breathing problems. If GERD is diagnosed, the optimal treatment is decided upon based on the type of GERD that your child has at the time of diagnosis.

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What Treatments Might The Doctor Give For My Child’s Gerd

If changes at home do not help enough, the doctor may recommend medicines to treat GERD. The medicines work by lowering the amount of acid in your child’s stomach.

Some medicines for GERD in children are over-the-counter, and some are prescription medicines. They include

  • Over-the-counter antacids
  • H2 blockers, which decrease acid production
  • Proton pump inhibitors , which lower the amount of acid the stomach makes
  • Prokinetics, which help the stomach empty faster

If these don’t help and your child still has severe symptoms, then surgery might be an option. A pediatric gastroenterologist, a doctor who treats children who have digestive diseases, would do the surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn In Infants And Children

Heartburn feels like a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.

If the cause of heartburn is GERD, the infant or child may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Arching of the back during feedings
  • Wheezing

Keep in mind that these symptoms are seen in other conditions, so may not necessarily be a sign of GER or GERD.

In addition to feeling discomfort, infants with heartburn may fail to gain weight properly. Sores can form in the esophagus from the constant backing up of acid. If not treated, GERD can lead to narrowing of the esophagus or abnormal cells in the lining of the esophagus, breathing problems, and feeding issues.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Gastroesophageal Reflux

Common signs of reflux include:

  • heartburn . It can last up to 2 hours and tends to be worse after meals and when lying down
  • burping
  • 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
  • wet burps or wet hiccups
  • spitting up that continues beyond a child’s first birthday
  • irritability or inconsolable crying after eating
  • refusing to eat or eating only small amounts
  • failure to gain weight

Some of these symptoms may get worse if a baby lies down or is placed in a car seat after a meal.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Gastroesophageal Reflux In Infants And Children

Pediatric Advice : How Do I Treat Infant Reflux?

DREW C. BAIRD, MD DAUSEN J. HARKER, MD and AARON S. KARMES, DO, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas

Am Fam Physician. 2015 Oct 15 92:705-717.

Patient information: See related handout on gastroesophageal reflux in infants and children, written by the authors of this article.

Gastroesophageal reflux in children is the passage of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is a normal physiologic process, occurring throughout the day in infants and less often in children and adolescents, typically after meals. It may be asymptomatic or cause mild, nontroubling symptoms such as regurgitation or occasional vomiting. Regurgitation is the passive movement of stomach contents into the pharynx or mouth. Vomiting is the forceful movement of stomach contents through the mouth by autonomic and voluntary muscle contractions, sometimes triggered by reflux.13


The diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux and GERD should be based primarily on history and physical examination findings because other diagnostic tests have not shown superior accuracy.

GERD = gastroesophageal reflux disease.

A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence C = consensus, disease-oriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, go to .


Read Also: Why Do I Get Heartburn A Lot

When To Start Solids

  • At the current time, there is little to no evidence to suggest that starting solid feeds early can help with reflux. It is important to follow the Australian recommendation as discussed in the current Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines which is to introduce solids at around six months of age and not before four months.
  • When your infant is ready, start to introduce a variety of solid foods, starting with iron rich foods, while continuing to breast or formula feed.
  • You should only start solids when your baby starts to show signs of readiness. This is the best guide in relation to when to start solids for your baby. The signs are things such as showing interest in what you are eating and possibly trying to grab your food, losing the tongue thrusting reflex which pushes the food out of their mouth and being able to sit upright. For some babies, these developmental milestones appear earlier or later than six months, but generally not before four months.

Acid Reflux In Children: Causes Symptoms And Treatment

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux is the involuntary passage of gastric contents into the esophagus. It is normal for a child to have occasional episodes of acid reflux as they usually stop with a few dietary changes. But if they occur along with other complications, then it is good to consult a doctor.

In this post, MomJunction tells you about the causes, symptoms, and a few natural remedies which might help in reducing acid reflux in children.

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Natural Remedies For Acid Reflux In Children

In addition to lifestyle changes and prescribed medicines, you could consider home remedies to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD in children. However, these may not cure reflux and cannot replace a doctors advice. Take your doctors advice before trying any of these remedies for your children.

What Is Gerd In Children

Acid reflux of children. How to detect and treatment early ...

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a long-term digestive disorder. It happens when stomach contents flow back up into the food pipe and cause symptoms or problems.

GERD is a more serious and long-lasting form of gastroesophageal reflux .

GER is common in babies under 2 years old. Most babies spit up a few times a day during their first 3 months. GER does not cause any problems in babies. In most cases, babies outgrow this by the time they are 12 to 14 months old.

It is also common for children and teens ages 2 to 19 to have GER from time to time. This doesnt always mean they have GERD.

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What Causes Pediatric Gerd

Researchers arent always exactly sure what causes GERD in young people. According to Cedars-Sinai, several factors may be involved, including:

  • how long the esophagus is inside of the abdomen
  • the angle of His, which is the angle where the stomach and esophagus meet
  • the condition of the muscles at the esophaguss lower end
  • pinching of the fibers of the diaphragm

Some children may also have weak valves that are particularly sensitive to certain foods and beverages or inflammation in the esophagus thats causing the problem.

Find Out How To Spot The Early Signs Of Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy is very common, varying in intensity from being only mild to very uncomfortable. Around 30-50 percent of pregnant women will experience pregnancy heartburn, which tends to become worse as the due date becomes closer.

Generally, heartburn features more during the second and third trimesters as the uterus gets larger. Women who are older, whove had a baby before and whove experienced pre-pregnancy heartburn are more at risk of having pregnancy heartburn. Gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy also means it is more likely.

Some women experience just mild discomfort after some meals and others can feel an intense burning sensation in their upper chest.

Reassuringly, pregnancy heartburn can often be managed by a few simple strategies and although it may not go away completely, the symptoms can be reduced.

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What Problems Can Happen

Babies who have GER usually outgrow it by the time theyre 1 or 2 years old. But in some cases, GER symptoms last. Kids with developmental or neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, are more at risk for GER and can have more severe, lasting symptoms.

A steady reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus can lead to:

  • breathing problems
  • redness and irritation in the esophagus, a condition called esophagitis
  • bleeding in the esophagus
  • pneumonia
  • repeated asthma attacks

Because these complications can make eating painful, GER can interfere with proper nutrition. So if your child isn’t gaining weight as expected or is losing weight, talk with your doctor.

Clinical Features Of Gerd

Diagnosing & Treating Baby Problems : How to Diagnose Acid Reflux in Babies

Troublesome symptoms or complications of reflux in full-term infants include feeding refusal, recurrent vomiting, poor weight gain, irritability, sleep disturbance, and respiratory symptoms. GERD in infants can also be associated with coughing, choking, wheezing, or upper respiratory tract symptoms. However, relying on symptoms to diagnose GERD can be difficult in infants, especially because medication does not always resolve symptoms. Rates of GERD are reportedly lower in breastfed infants compared with formula-fed infants, and the incidence peaks at four months of age.

Common troublesome symptoms and complications in children older than one year and in adolescents include abdominal pain or heartburn, recurrent vomiting, dysphagia, asthma, recurrent pneumonia, and upper airway symptoms .

Read Also: What Causes Acid Indigestion And Heartburn

Diet And Lifestyle Changes

In many cases, diet and lifestyle changes can help to ease GERD. Talk with your childs healthcare provider about changes you can make. Here are some tips to better manage GERD symptoms.

For babies:

  • After feedings, hold your baby in an upright position for 30 minutes.
  • If bottle-feeding, keep the nipple filled with milk. This way your baby wont swallow too much air while eating. Try different nipples. Find one that lets your baby’s mouth make a good seal with the nipple during feeding.
  • Adding rice cereal to feeding may be helpful for some babies.
  • Burp your baby a few times during bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. Your child may reflux more often when burping with a full stomach.

For children:

  • Watch your child’s food intake. Limit fried and fatty foods, peppermint, chocolate, drinks with caffeine such as sodas and tea, citrus fruit and juices, and tomato products.
  • Offer your child smaller portions at mealtimes. Add small snacks between meals if your child is hungry. Dont let your child overeat. Let your child tell you when he or she is hungry or full.
  • If your child is overweight, contact your childs provider to set weight-loss goals.
  • Serve the evening meal early, at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Other things to try:

Safe Use Tips For Laxative Medicines

Always read the Drug Facts label carefully. The label tells you everything you need to know about the medicine, including the ingredients, what you are supposed to use it for, how much you should take, and when you should not take the product.

Ask a healthcare provider before using a laxative if you have abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or have noticed a sudden change in bowel habits lasting for two weeks.

Stop using a laxative and contact your healthcare provider if you have rectal bleeding or no bowel movement after use. These could be signs of a serious condition.

When using an enema, be careful not to use force when inserting the products tip into the rectum.

If you are pregnant or nursing, talk to a doctor before using a laxative.

Talk to a healthcare provider before using a suppository on a child under the age of two.

Discontinue use of a suppository on a child if you encounter resistance. Forcing product insertion may cause injury.

OTC laxatives are available in different dosage strengths. Do not give any medicine to a child that is only intended for use in an adult.

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When To Suspect Gerd

Physiological gastro-esophageal reflux occurs in 40% to 65% of all otherwise healthy infants between the ages of one and four months making it a fairly characteristic condition of early postnatal life. Because of high rate of GER in infancy, it is important to distinguish between what is physiologic and what is a pathologic reaction or symptom. In physiologic regurgitation the process is mostly passive or effortless and the endpoint of the gastric material that has refluxed up into the esophagus is commonly the oropharynx. In vomiting, the material is forcefully expelled from the mouth, however both these symptoms are sometimes difficult to differentiate, hence other symptoms or complications should be investigated .

GERD occurs when reflux of the gastric contents causes symptoms that are troublesome, affect the quality of life or cause pathologic complications, the details are listed below:

  • Weight loss or inadequate weight gain

  • Crying and fussiness during and after feeding

  • Emesis and/or hematemesis

  • Bad breath, gagging or choking at the end of feeding

  • Sleeping disturbance and frequent night waking

  • Abdominal pain

  • Dystonic neck posturing

  • Dysphagia

  • Apnea

  • Respiratory symptoms

Eat A Banana Or An Apple

Acid Reflux In Babies: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment ...

Bananas contain natural antacids that can act as a buffer against acid reflux. If you want to try out the simplest home remedies for heartburn first, try letting a few bananas ripen up nicely and eating one every day. Another option is to try an apple a day. Slice one up and eat it a couple of hours before bedtime to relieve or prevent discomfort.

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What Are The Complications Of Gerd In A Child

Some babies and children who have GERD may not vomit. But their stomach contents may still move up the food pipe and spill over into the windpipe . This can cause asthma or pneumonia.

The vomiting that affects many babies and children with GERD can cause problems with weight gain and poor nutrition. Over time, when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, it can also lead to:

  • Inflammation of the esophagus, called esophagitis

  • Sores or ulcers in the esophagus, which can be painful and may bleed

  • A lack of red blood cells, from bleeding sores

Adults may also have long-term problems from inflammation of the esophagus. These include:

  • Narrowing, or stricture, of the esophagus

  • Barretts esophagus, a condition where there are abnormal cells in the esophageal lining

When Should I Call The Doctor

  • does not seem to be growing
  • cries a lot more than usual
  • won’t eat, or cries and arches away from the bottle or breast during feedings
  • coughs, chokes, wheezes, or has trouble breathing
  • has forceful vomiting more than a few times in a 24-hour period
  • has blood in the poop
  • still has problems with reflux after age 1

Go to the ER right away if your baby throws up blood or bile .

  • is very bothered by the reflux
  • does not seem to be growing
  • coughs, chokes, wheezes, or has trouble breathing
  • vomits more than a few times in a 24-hour period
  • has blood in the poop

Go to the ER right away if your child has severe chest pain.

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