GERD in Children
Experts have a belief that children and infants with GERD outgrow the problem by the age of twelve or eighteen months. However, it is very rare to diagnose the illness in children older than eighteen months, except for those who have serious health issues which include asthma, cerebral palsy, or developmental delays. According to several studies, the children who are normal may experience GERD, possibly to a much greater extent.
In general, the symptoms of GERD among children and adolescents who do not have other serious medical problems and do not have any neurological impairment are:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Vomiting (in adolescents, evaluate the child for a possible eating disorder).
According to one study which was reported in a 2000 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers studied those children drawn from sixteen pediatric practices in Chicago to determine the level of GERD in children.
They have queried 566 parents of children aged three to nine years and 584 parents of children which added ten to seventeen.
So, according to this report by mothers, the abdominal pain in children was the symptom most frequent. The mothers of younger children reported this problem occurring about 24 percent of the time. However, the problem even apparently existed in older children, although it had declined to about 15 percent, according to mothers. Epigastric pain was a problem that was more frequent for the small children (7.2 percent) than for the children ages ten to seventeen (3 percent).
The children were themselves asked about their symptoms and in some cases, their response was different from their mothers. For example, regurgitative symptoms (sour taste in the mouth or taste of vomit) were much more prominent when reported by children over the age of ten themselves. About 8 percent of the children said they had these symptoms, while only about 1 percent of the mothers perceived regurgitation symptoms at present.
Heartburn was very infrequent, according to the mothers of the younger children, occurring about 2 percent of the time. However, it was still not a major problem in older children but did increase to occurrences of 3.5 percent of the time.
GERD in children with disabilities
GERD may be a serious problem with neurological impairments and other major medical problems. According to some physicians, GERD occurred in about 70 percent of the population of children with cerebral palsy. Children with asthma are also more likely to experience GERD, as are children with neurological impairments or developmental delays. In general, these children who have GERD show the following symptoms:
- Food avoidance
- Behavioral changes
However, there are some less common symptoms of GERD seen in a neurologically impaired child which includes:
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency anemia
Often a hidden illness
One problem with which accompanies some of the ill children is that they may not evince clear-cur symptoms of GERD; however, the problem is there and it may be serious. We can see this with the help of an example which includes a 1999 issue of Pediatrics reported on a study of 80 children and adolescents with severe asthma.
None of the children showed symptoms of GERD. However, when a twenty-four-hour pH probe on all the children was performed, researchers discovered that the majority (about 73 percent) had GERD. Some experts even have a belief that all children with serious asthma should be evaluated for GERD.
However, many experts have a belief that GERD can cause asthma, although others say that it is not easy to know where to exactly point the arrow of blame.
If children who are neurologically impaired should be checked for GERD if they frequently regurgitate. If they have GERD, it is aggravated because they are often lying down. Further bouts of pneumonia are also the complications that are frequently seen in children with GERD. Pediatricians should involve pediatric gastroenterologists in such cases.
Treatment of GERD in older children
Treatment for children past infancy usually involves lifestyle changes. Some of them include raising the head of the bed, avoiding foods that can exacerbate the problem such as chocolate, tomatoes, caffeinated beverages, and so forth. In conclusion, whatever be your age you need to treat your GERD with natural Ayurvedic treatment free from side effects.
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