While you often hear of adults suffering from acid reflux, it is certainly not uncommon for children to have the same problem. When you think it about it, it makes sense.
In a normal person, food passes through the esophagus and the muscle will then close so the food can travel down in to the stomach. People with acid reflux have problems with this muscle closing properly, resulting in pain and discomfort known as acid reflux.
When children have acid reflux, they can feel quite miserable. Parents may not understand what is wrong, especially with young children who are not old enough to verbalize their needs.
Luckily, with changes in the diet and medications, acid reflux in children can ease. In fact, many children with this condition will grow out of it as they age.
So, if you are a parent and your child is complaining about discomfort after a meal, how do you know what is wrong with your child? Is it the common stomachache or is it something a little more serious, like acid reflux? One way to know for certain is to look at the symptoms.
The symptoms of children with acid reflux
Many of them will complain of abdominal pain above the belly button, along with one or more of the following: chest pain, sour taste in the mouth after eating, burning feeling in the throat, weight loss or not wanting to eat particular foods and being very picky about the types of foods eaten.
Other symptoms that are common among young children with acid reflux include gagging and choking when eating, recurrent bad breath despite brushing and flossing, sinus infections, wheezing and coughing, especially at night, hard stomach and recurring ear infections.
To the untrained eye, it does seem that these symptoms are rather random, but to your doctor, these symptoms will make sense. Your health care provider will be able to diagnose acid reflux in your child quite easily.
After a physical exam, your pediatrician may order a series of other tests that could include an upper endoscopy, pH monitoring and lab tests such as a blood work up and a urine test. It is important that your doctor exams your child carefully to make sure the condition is not something that is more serious.
How is acid reflux in children treated?
After a diagnosis of acid reflux is made, there are several treatment options for your child. First of all, you will be asked to watch your child’s diet. There may be certain foods that trigger the acid reflux, such as spicy foods. After that, your doctor may recommend over the counter antacids, such as Tums or Mylanta. The good news is that these medications are very safe for children.
Acid suppressors such as Axid or Zantac may also be added to your child’s orders. Last of all, if these things do not work well, then you doctor may look at prescription acid blockers.
Work with your child’s doctor to ensure that you child is getting the care he or she needs for this condition. It is also important to understand that your child will need to understand the condition to help prevent problems.
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