October 29, 2013
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a medical condition that is common in people of all ages, even babies and children.
Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when stomach contents reflux, or back up, into the esophagus during or after a meal. Dr. Charmaine Mziray-Andrew, assistant professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says gastroesophageal reflux is natural and begins in infancy when most infants spit up after feeding. She explains the condition.
“There may be a lot of pain and feeding difficulty. So when you have problems with gastroesophageal reflux then it’s called a disease. And it is pretty common. About 40 percent of infants generally have gastroesophageal reflux. About 30 to 40 percent of older kids may have the disease...”
Dr. Miziray-Andrew says in children, GERD can cause troublesome symptoms or complications such as abdominal pain, vomiting, irritability, poor eating, failure to gain weight and respiratory problems. She discusses the treatments.
“Treatment is often conservative to start off. So in the infant you would encourage upright positioning after feeding, frequent burping, no over-feeding. You avoid the car-seat stance, so that would increase your intra-abdominal pressure and cause you to have more regurgitation. Often times we can use thickeners because we know that when kids have more solids in their diets, they have less reflux.”
Dr. Miziray-Andrew says infants and children with GERD can be helped first with feeding and lifestyle changes or possibly medication. If symptoms are severe or persist, parents should contact their primary care physician or pediatrician.