Can Children Get GERD?


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a digestive condition where both stomach acid and consumed food reverse their course from the stomach back to the esophagus. This flow or action happens after you have taken your meal. While the condition is known to be common among adults, children are not exempted from having one. In fact, when they have GERD, they can become so uneasy and most of the times, irritable. When they refuse to eat, it is one of the early signs that they might be suffering from the disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of GERD?

Reluctance to eating and becoming irritable are just but two of the symptoms associated with GERD. Other symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing and other breathing problems
  • Problems with gaining weight due to poor appetite

You have to be wary when you see your child showing these symptoms because untreated GERD can result to worse conditions like pneumonia and laryngitis.

What To Do When Your Child Gets GERD

The first thing to consider when your child shows the symptoms mentioned above is to bring them to a pediatrician. When you have done that, you should verify the diagnosis with an ENT doctor. The following tips will also be a good place to start when it comes to reducing your child’s GERD and its symptoms:

  • Feed children more frequently in smaller amounts. This will apply both to breastfeeding and formula feeding. For bottle-fed babies, you may also ask your doctor if you can add something to thicken the texture of the formula milk like rice cereals. This will help reduce reflux.
  • Always read food labels. There are ingredients that contribute to reflux symptoms. An example of which includes wheat and soy protein which are basically found in formula milk or cereals. Of course, you should always verify facts with your doctor to rule out possibilities of food sensitivity as the contributor to your child’s GERD.
  • Burp your baby. Do this more often than usual. It is recommended to do so after you feed him in order to minimize formation of gas or pressure on his stomach.
  • Older children should also be served smaller meals to prevent reflux. Remind him not to lie down at least two hours after every meal. Advise him not to wear tight belts as well as this can worsen the situation. Losing weight may also help if your child is overweight or obese but make sure that you only do so upon the advice of a health professional.
  • Carbonated drinks, spicy and acidic foods, peppermint, chocolate, vinegar and mustard as well as fatty foods should be avoided because these can aggravate GERD. When you are not sure which food causes the disease, it will be good to track your child’s food intake for a couple of days.

Treating your child’s GERD will require utmost diligence on your part as a parent. Visiting a specialist in nose and throat disorders will also do you a lot of help. Make sure that you do not wait for symptoms to worsen before consulting a licensed health professional.