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Acid Reflux in Children
Acid reflux is a condition that people of all ages suffer from, including children. The symptoms of acid reflux in children can range in intensity from a slight discomfort in the stomach, to sharp pains, to sore throats and regurgitation.
Symptoms of acid reflux in children are very similar to the adult version of the disease: the child may experience an acute burning sensation when the corrosive liquid in their digestive system backs up or “refluxes” into their esophagus. For many children with acid reflux, this can be an extremely uncomfortable experience.
For most children, acid reflux symptoms are painful but not damaging to their long-term health. These non-damaging acid reflux symptoms are called “uncomplicated” reflux symptoms, as opposed to “chronic” acid reflux symptoms. Some signs of acid reflux in children are:
Heartburn: Perhaps the most common sign of acid reflux in children; heartburn is prevalent in children who regularly eat foods that are high in fat (hamburgers, pizza, candy etc). Heartburn is the most commonly reported reflux symptom in patients of all ages. Children usually describe heartburn as a “burning” feeling in the chest. Children will generally experience this symptom soon after eating a large meal.
Regurgitation: Perhaps the second most often-experienced acid reflux symptom in children is regurgitation. When the caustic liquid in a child’s stomach backs up into their throat or mouth, the child may experience a bitter or sour taste. If a child regurgitates often, the corrosive digestive fluid may begin to damage their teeth as the corrosive digestive juices erode tooth enamel.
Sore Throat: A sore throat is another acid reflux symptom for children. When the digestive acids back up into the esophagus, it can sometimes reach the throat and cause irritation. The child may find it difficult or painful to swallow food, and some children may suffer from voice hoarseness as well.
When a child is taken to a doctor for diagnosis, the physician will usually perform tests to measure the acidity in the child’s esophagus and digestive system. More often than not the pediatrician will decide that treatment isn’t required, as acid reflux in children tends to go away as the child grows.
If your doctor feels that the symptoms warrant treatment, they may suggest certain prescription medications such as histamine-2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors, both of which are very useful in curing acid reflux in children.
Keep in mind that the best acid reflux treatment for children will vary from child to child, and that to cure acid reflux completely you may need to try a combination of lifestyle changes (such as less fatty foods or smaller, more regular meals), herbal remedies (such as ginger root powder) and medical treatments (such as antacids).