Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux in Children #A2ZChallenge

Have you ever wondered why your child is often complaining of chest pain? Or have you wondered why they have nausea, stomachache or sour burps? The reason could be simple. Your child may be getting heartburn.

Heartburn is often observed after eating a spicy or big meal. However, if this happens too often and is not associated with any particular trigger then it is due to  Gastroesophageal Reflux or GER. You must be wondering how can a child have GER. Well, the disease is no longer restricted to adults. Children and even babies can suffer from this.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER)

Why does one burp, spit or develop heartburns in GER. This is a reaction of the acidic contents in the stomach which instead of moving ahead moves back into the oesophagus. The reason behind this backward movement is that the oesophageal sphincter or the muscles connecting the oesophagus to the stomach do not close properly.

Reflux on its own is not a worry. But when GER and reflux take place hand in hand then it causes discomfort. GER can cause heartburn after every meal. By the way, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. These heartburns are like a burning sensation in the neck, chest and throat.

Wondering how babies get affected with GER even though they don’t eat anything? Babies who literally survive on milk (breast or formula) have refluxes into the oesophagus. Sometimes they also burp with small amounts of liquids that have been regurgitated. This also known as wet burps happens when a child has had food more than what he can consume. Well, the good news is that most babies, outgrow GER by the time they are 1-2 years old. However, in some children, the symptoms of GER may last. Children who suffer from neurobiological or developmental conditions are at a greater risk of the lasting symptoms of GER.

How To Recognize GER:

Heartburn is the most common symptom and can last up to 2 or more hours. It is often worse at meal times. here are some more symptoms:

  • Bad breath from the child’s mouth
  • Refusal to eat food
  • Difficulty and pain in swallowing food
  • Feeling of nausea after eating
  • Presence of sour taste on waking up in the morning
  • Pain in the chest – usually an indication of heartburn
  • A wheezing sound if the food enters the windpipe
  • Wet burps

Treatment of GER:

When a child suffers from GER then the doctor may prescribe an antacid so that the acid formation stops. A proton pump inhibitor like Prevacid or a Histamine 2 blocker to reduce the formation of the acid.

lifestyle and diet change is also required in order to reduce the symptoms of GER:

  • Fatty, fried and starchy food should be avoided
  • Serve smaller meals to your child instead of large meals
  • Cut down the carbonated drinks and acidic fruit and vegetables as they may irritate the child’s tummy
  • Keeping head elevated while sleeping or lying down
  • Avoid dressing the child in uncomfortable and tight clothes

Other than the treatment options mentioned above for GER, there are some effective home remedies as well. Some of them are:

  • Fennel Seeds: These seeds contain an enzyme known as anethole. This relieves gastrointestinal spasm. Because of its taste, it is good for treating GER in children.
  • Yoghurt: This has alkaline properties and is effective in maintaining the pH of the body.
  • Basil Leaves: Boiling basil leaves in and drinking it when cooled helps to treat a child’s symptoms of GER.
  • Aloe Vera: This controls GER in children. A concoction of Aloe Vera can be made by scraping out the gel and boiling it in some water. This should be given to the child before meals to avoid GER.

While you try to take care of your child’s diet also make a note of the foods which act as triggers. Some common triggers are spicy, sugary, salty and fried food, citrus fruits and caffeinated drinks. Making a light meal cooked at home is the best way towards the road to recovery.

Please Note: All the information has been sourced from the internet. Also, please consult your doctor before following anything that is mentioned here.

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A – Autism

B – Bronchiolitis

C – Celiac Disease

D – Dyslexia

E – Eating Disorders

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.

20 Comments

  1. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    It’s an informative post. Wish I could have read it before. My daughter was hospitalised last year for extreme reflux action

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Hope she is better now Saba!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you!

  2. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    Gastro oesophageal reflux disease I though happened to adults. Now I know babies can also experience it. Thank you for educating.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting by

  3. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    Reflux is a problem that has started having children as it’s victims now. A very informative and helpful post to beat this issue.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Sonia

  4. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    A difficult topic .Children unfortunately often suffer due to poor food habits

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Yes indeed a difficult topic

  5. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    I had no idea about this at all. Thanks for this highly informative post. Though I feel it would be difficult to understand and identify this in toddlers as they won’t be able to express what exactly they are feeling but looking at the other symptoms, we may try to find out the problem.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      I totally agree with you. Other than us recognising their symptoms the little children are unable to tell what they are going through.

  6. April 8, 2019
    Reply

    Very informative post shubhra… I am learning a lot… Thanks for sharing all this information… In GER, even green cardamom is very good. and an effective home remedy.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 8, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Kushal I shall make a note of it.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 9, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Vidya

  7. April 9, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing, especially the home remedies and the underlying causes.

    Best, Mit

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 9, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Mit!

  8. April 10, 2019
    Reply

    I have been the brand manager of the anti-ulcerant brands of Cipla. This post took me back to my brand management days and refreshed all about GERD. Thanks for the memories and an informative post, Shubhra!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 10, 2019
      Reply

      You are welcome Shilpa

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