The acid reflux symptoms would be hard to detect in children and infants. Children and infants spit up or vomit frequently which may be caused due to GERD. GERD in children cannot be detected, as children will not be able to tell where it hurts or even give clue what is happening in them. Infants cry and complain that increases the stress levels and may need urgent attention. The most common symptoms of GERD in children are frequent or chronic vomiting, wet burps, persistent cough, chest pain and reswallowing. But some of these symptoms are found and is common with healthy children and infants too. There are additional symptoms of GERD in children that include bad breath, picky eating, ear infection, choking, ear infections, running nose and many more. Parents will be able to identify such symptoms in their children and if they do so they should take the child to the physician before the symptoms increases to more than one and reaches a level where it is difficult to control. If the parent ignores such symptoms in children and do not take it seriously it would lead to more serious situation. The parents should not take a chance and should consult a doctor immediately who is familiar with acid reflux symptoms in children and take a proper advice from them. The child should not just be taken to a primary care physician but to a child specialist who specializes in this field of such acid reflux diseases in children.
The doctor must be provided with all the symptoms the child is facing to make sure that the diagnosis is made properly. The parent must inform the doctor about the various symptoms and also about the development of such symptom along with the time frame the child has been having these symptoms.
All this information is very vital along with a proper physical examination will enable the doctor to make a proper diagnosis. However to detect GERD in children, some additional test might be required to detect such a disease if it is suspected. Several doctors use pH probe to check the acid level above the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) . This valve is supposed to keep the acid in the stomach from flowing into the esophagus, however if the muscle is weak and is not able to control the opening and closing of LES then the acid is allowed to reflux up to the esophagus.
The pH probe is sent to the esophagus through the nose and the pH level is checked in the esophagus and also the frequency of gastric reflux is checked over 12 to 24 hour period. If the acid reflux levels are high then further tests will have to done. The endoscope is placed down in the esophagus to know about the condition of the esophagus and also check the damage caused to esophagus due to acid reflux. If the esophagus damage is severe then a diagnosis of GERD should be done by making further tests and may require immediate treatment.
The symptom of GERD in Children can be treated effectively by medication and making some changes in their lifestyle. In case of infant in order to mitigate the symptom you can keep the baby upright for some time after feeding if the child sleeps. This helps to ensure the child’s head is kept above the level of his abdomen thereby ensuring that the child does not vomit. If the child is fed with solid food it would also help in the treatment. Parents must have a log of the feed done to the child that would also help a great deal during the treatment. It should be discussed well with the doctor before implementation.
GERD in children who are slightly older should be addressed and treated by changing the food habits and also by changing the food they eat. These children should be given several smaller meals every day that would lessen the pressure on the LES muscle and the gastric reflux. If the child sleeps in an elevated format it shall reduce the pressure on the LES muscle and would help in the well being of a child. Raising the pillow by three inches would be sufficient enough to get the desired effect. The child should not be allowed to sleep before 30 minutes after food. The children should not sit in front of the computer or Television for long hours.
Exercising will be an important factor in treatment of GERD in children; it helps in digestion and also will reduce acid reflux in children. Limiting high acid foods, high sugar drink, carbonated beverages in your child’s diet will help in faster treatment and help the child in the long run. Many children naturally outgrow the acid reflux but in certain children it needs proper treatment otherwise it would lead to serious condition. Making early diagnosis and treatment is the key to eliminate GERD in children.