BENGALURU: Current lifestyle scenario is adversely impacting our health, irrespective of age. Excessive levels of stress in adults and children is making the situation worse, affecting kids with many health issues that were earlier limited to adults. Acidity is one health complaint that was always observed in adults. However, there has been a rise in the number of children suffering from hyperacidity symptoms nowadays.
The entrance of the stomach has a valve which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Usually, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it but if the LES doesn’t close entirely or opens too often then the acid produced by the stomach can move up into the oesophagus. If acid reflux causes distressing symptoms happens more frequently, then one may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In infants, GERD is quite common as regurgitation of milk, while children and adolescents can experience heart burn and classical symptoms of GERD. Mostly in babies, acid reflux is a result of the poorly coordinated gastrointestinal tract. While in older children, the causes are often the same as those in adults. Additionally, an older child is more at risk if he or she experienced GERD as a baby. GERD also has a hereditary factor to it.The author is senior consultant, HOD and chief of gastroentrology, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road
Once in a while, these issues could be normal pertaining to our lifestyles and can mostly be managed with certain precautions. However, if it is very frequent and not paid attention to then GERD can bring along some potential complications like respiratory problems, difficulty in gaining weight, inflammation of the esophagus, and other problems affecting the nerves, brain or muscles, especially in infants.
treating acid reflux in older children
The child should remain upright for at least two hours after eating
Serving several small meals through the day, rather than three large meals, is recommended.
Make sure your child is not overeating.
Limit foods and beverages that could worsen the child’s reflux such as high fat, fried or spicy foods, carbonation, and caffeine.
Encourage regular exercise