Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is mainly an adult health issue. However, it may also affect infants and children. However, this condition, particularly in babies, usually arises because their digestive system has not yet fully developed. In many cases, they grow out of GERD after reaching their first year.
The common symptoms of pediatric GERD include heartburn, gas, tummy pain, recurring vomiting or coughing and loss of appetite. To examine the condition, doctors use various methods involving various tools like barium swallow, pH probe and endoscopy.
To treat GERD, lifestyle changes may need to be incorporated into the younger patients daily life. Here are the suggested modifications for infants with GERD:
For toddlers and other older children, here are the recommended courses of action to reduce the likelihood of the onset of GERD symptoms:
To address the pain or discomfort or gas, medications like calcium carbonate antacid and simethicone can help. Antacids in high doses may cause diarrhea, though. As for the long-term side effects, the medication can contribute to the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency or thinning of the bones.
When medication and other noninvasive procedures are not effective at controlling the symptoms of the condition, surgery may help alleviate the patients suffering. The most common procedure involves wrapping the top portion of the stomach, particularly the area occupied by a muscular valve that regulates the proper downward flow of liquids and solids from the esophagus and down to the stomach.