Acid Reflux & Children - Signs and Treatment
Acid reflux is a digestive condition that can cause pain and irritation during early digestion. This condition develops when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn't close properly, causing stomach contents to rise up into the esophagus. While it is a common condition among adults, with more that 60 million people reporting symptoms at least once a month, acid reflux is also prevalent in children. Many infants suffer from acid reflux due to their primarily liquid diet and will eventually outgrow the condition, but it can continue to affect older children long after infancy. In these cases, medical attention may be needed in order to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms that many children with acid reflux experience.
Acid reflux symptoms in children include:
- Frequent or recurrent vomiting
- Persistent cough
- Refusing to eat
- Difficulty eating
- Choking or gagging when eating
- Heartburn, gas, or abdominal pain
Children who suffer from acid reflux don't necessarily require medication. In severe cases, medications may be prescribed, but there are some treatments you can try at home to help relieve acid reflux in children:
- Keep the child's head elevated while sleeping
- Make sure the child stays upright for at least two hours after eating to prevent acid from rising (30 minutes for infants)
- Change feeding schedules or have smaller, more frequent meals
- Limit foods that aggravate you child's acid reflux, or switching to solid foods in infants (with your doctor's permission)
- Use over-the-counter antacids that are safe for children
If you suspect your child is suffering from acid reflux contact your physician. He or she will be able to determine the severity of the condition and help you develop a treatment plan that works for you and your child.