To identify with stomach reflux we must understand the process of digestion. So when the food enters stomach, number of digestive juices which are acidic in nature act upon the food to break it down into smaller and simpler components (mechanical and chemical digestion) thus enabling its digestion. There is a valve like structure (lower oesophageal sphincter) located between the food pipe and the stomach which prevents the back flow of stomach contents into the oesophagus (food pipe) during digestion. When due to some condition or disease, this valve does not function and is unable to hold back the acid in stomach and there is a reversion of gastric contents into the food pipe; it is called stomach reflux or Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in scientific terms. The same happens with children and stomach reflux in children is known as paediatric GERD. In addition to problems with the valve, some other causes of child stomach reflux are obesity, overeating, constipation or use of certain medications.
Now generally if you would have noticed, children usually spit out or throw out the food as their digestive system is not fully developed. This means that the nerves which control the entire process of digestion has not fully matured and therefore the function is impaired. However this spitting and vomiting can also be due to paediatric GERD.The general symptoms of stomach reflux in children are frequent vomiting of food after eating, a cough that lasts for long, refusing food or breast milk, difficulty in eating and swallowing, pain while swallowing, long lasting sore throat, crying very often, staying irritated and cribbing all the time, experiencing a sour taste, regurgitation, belching and burping etc. The most frequent use methods to diagnose and confirm the presence of GERD in children are barium swallow x-ray (shows internal image of the GI tract), using a pH probe (gives a measure of acid levels), endoscopy of upper GI tract (helps in identifying the valve anatomy and condition) and the gastric emptying study (time taken for digestion process). Now we are aware of this condition called stomach reflux; let us have a detailed look at the treatments available.
Here Are Treatment For Stomach Reflux In kids
Simple lifestyle Measures
Some simple lifestyle changes can reduce the acid reflux to some extent. These measures include making the child sleep at an elevation of about 30 degrees; this prevents back flow of stomach contents, eating small meals rather than one full heavy meal, do not make your child eat large quantity of food, also liquid diet must be replaced with solid or semi-solid food as liquids tend to come out quickly (after consultation with the paediatrician). Regular exercising and staying physically active is also known to help.
Avoid foods which are spicy or have a high fat content. Intake of carbonated drinks, chocolates, garlic, onion, tomato, caffeinated drinks etc. should also be reduced or even stopped. These foods tend to add on to the acid levels in stomach and worsen the symptoms. Also including vegetables and fruits like apple, banana, papaya, in the diet helps.
Acid Reducing Medicines
When the home remedies and lifestyle changes do not suffice; the doctor might advise you to begin medications. Medications in children are usually started at very low doses. These medications mainly aim at reducing the gastric acid levels. Examples of drugs that reduce acid levels in stomach include simple antacids; H – 2 blockers (Ranitidine) and proton pump inhibitors (pantoprazole, rabeprazole, omeprazole). Drugs are given to children only in severe cases are their long-term effects on children are not well studied. Other class of drugs include medicines that increase gastric motility, thereby removing food out of stomach quickly. Doing this prevents any sort of gastric reflux as the digested food along with the acidic juices does not stay in stomach for a long time.
Surgery is performed only when bleeding of the food pipe or gastric ulcers appear and there is no other alternative cure available. Nissen fundoplication is most commonly employed technique for GERD. In this surgery, a part of stomach is made wrap tightly around the oesophagus which makes it tight and thus reduces and back flow of acidic contents.
Use Of Natural Herbs
Consuming Fennel seeds (saunff), anise seeds (ajowain) reduces gastric acid levels. For children, you can make boil these seeds in water, strain it and cool; give 2-3 spoons of this solution about 3 times every day. This reduces symptoms are provides comfort. Also a pinch of baking soda is known to provide relief.
In children it is important to identify the symptoms of acid reflux as they might not express it correctly. Any delay in treatment might worsen the condition hence early diagnosis is important.