GERD and LPR in infants and children may be related to causes mentioned above, or to growth and development issues. Heartburn or acid indigestion is the most common symptom of GERD. Ask your child’s provider to review your child’s medicines.
Natural remedies to help GER and GERD symptoms in infants and children include thickening of pumped breast milk or formula with rice cereal, smaller and more frequent feedings, elevation of the infant for 15-30 minutes following a feeding and (in rare cases) use of an “elemental” formula for infants with milk or soy protein sensitivity in association with GERD. GER and GERD in infants and children are caused by immature neurologic and gastrointestinal systems. In both GER and GERD, the stomach contents area expelled from the stomach into the esophagus through the opened gastroesophogeal junction. Generally, this junction is closed and stomach contents may only travel from the stomach into the intestinal tract. Signs and symptoms of GER or GERD in infants and children are overlap.
As children mature, symptoms of GERD become more like those found in adults. The main GERD symptoms in children are vomiting or regurgitation. Children might complain of a tummy ache, pressure in the chest, a feeling of something coming up into the throat, a burning pain in the chest, or might just seem irritable or agitated. Children with GERD are more likely to report a general tummy upset rather than the most common symptoms experienced by adults.
Most children see an improvement in symptoms, especially after the fundoplication operation, although some long-term effects may continue to be troublesome. The child will continue to be reviewed regularly by their local team.
Key points about GERD
Here’s what you need to know. If you have heartburn and you’re tired of popping antacids, this gut advice can help you choose the right surgical treatment.
As mentioned previously, they do not appear to have any discomfort associated with their reflux. A more forceful expulsion of stomach contents than do infants and children with GER.
Symptoms abate without treatment in 60% of infants by age 6 months, when these infants begin to assume an upright position and eat solid foods. Resolution of symptoms occurs in approximately 90% of infants by age 8-10 months. Approximately 85% of infants vomit during the first week of life, and 60-70% manifest clinical gastroesophageal reflux at age 3-4 months. Gastroesophageal reflux is most commonly seen in infancy, with a peak at age 1-4 months.
I recommend a step-up approach employing lifestyle modifications and/or medication prior to specialist referral in most cases. When symptoms become more troublesome or there is no response to therapeutic interventions, consultation with a pediatric gastroenterologist may be appropriate. Sometimes your pediatrician may recommend medications that neutralize or decrease the acid in your child’s stomach to treat symptoms associated with GERD.
Slower than normal emptying of stomach contents may predispose infants or children to GERD. Infants with gastroesophogeal reflux reflect the immaturity their nervous system.