Studies show that about 10 to 12% of children endure heartburn. In most cases, it is gastroesophageal reflux, abbreviated as GER. Most of the children outgrow gastroesophageal reflux; only in rare cases does it become a case of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is not uncommon in children to vomit after a meal. This is often caused as a result of stomach contents along with the stomach acids making their way into the esophagus and upwards into the mouth. The most common symptom in children is spitting. Let's see the causes, along with symptoms and remedies for the same.
What Causes Heartburn in Children?
Burning sensation either in the chest, neck, or throat is termed as heartburn. The most common cause of heartburn is poor coordination in the gastrointestinal tract. It can also be caused due to relaxation of the muscular valve located between the stomach and esophagus. The other cause is due to pressure exerted below the lower esophageal sphincter. In older children, it can also be caused due to consumption of certain foods.
- Chest pain is one of the symptoms. The acid makes its way into the esophagus, and it causes pain behind the breastbone and sometimes also in the throat.
- When the stomach acids flow backward into the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the throat and lower esophagus.
- Most infants, when they suffer from heartburn, arch their back, while being fed.
- If the child refuses to eat, it can be a warning sign.
- Most infants and children vomit, which is a symptom of indigestion and heartburn.
- Baby colic also points to this condition in children.
- If your child suffers from recurrent bouts of choking or gagging, it can be attributed to heartburn.
- Many times, breathing problems are looked upon as respiratory tract problems, but they can also result from gastrointestinal problems.
- The child can cry frequently, be fussy, and may not be able to say it.
The cures depend on the age of the child and cause of the problem. In most cases, elaborate treatment may not be required as children do overcome the problem after they grow up a little. The remedies that can be carried out at home include keeping the child upright after feeding, for half an hour. The next is to help the child let out a burp. This will ensure that the stomach acids do not make their way into the esophagus. Giving the child smaller and frequent meals will also help in providing relief. It is best to give the child rice cereal. This will help in decreasing the amount of regurgitation. In case the child is on formula, then substitute one teaspoon of rice cereal for one ounce of formula. The natural remedies can be used for children so that they do not suffer from heartburn.
If the child suffers from severe case of heartburn or if the symptoms do not go away on their own, then seek a pediatrician's help. It is best not to self-treat the child. Looking at the various symptoms the child displays, the pediatrician will be in a better position to recommend the necessary medication.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.