As we know, heartburn is a common sign of acid reflux. Mostly associated with adults, heartburn and acid reflux may affect infants and children as well.
However, acid reflux in infants is not necessarily a sign and symptom of GERD.
Acid Reflux and Infants
According to statistics 20% of the total population suffering from acid reflux are infants. It is safe to say, however, that this does not necessarily mean that the digestive system of the child is at fault. There are other factors that cause heartburn, or acid reflux, in both infants and children; such as:
- And vomiting (mouth or nose)
There is also a possibility that reflux in infants and children are caused by a reverse pressure in the digestive system, causing the child to vomit the entire content from their stomach, which eventually leads to heartburn.
Furthermore, acid reflux and GERD among infants lacks the necessary evidence to prove the claim, since it is impossible to determine the exact signs and symptoms that the child experiences.
Considering the undeveloped digestive system of infants, the backflow of stomach content commonly attributed to vomiting may infect the upper esophageal tract. This can lead to other complications, like asthma and pneumonia.
In most cases, acid reflux and GERD in infants is commonly found in premature infants or “preemies.” Mothers who drink alcohol and smoke during pregnancy may deliver a seemingly healthy infant. However, that infant may later develop internal problems one of which may be GERD.
How to Properly Identify Heartburn in Babies
It is possible to determine whether your child is suffering from acid reflux or GERD. In most cases, these infants may show coughing, choking, restlessness or inability to sleep during sleeping hours. Constant crying due to stomach aches is another possible symptom. Some push a finger into the stomach of their child to determine whether they are suffering from the latter which is always punctuated by a fresh bout of crying when they are.
An infant that constantly vomits or spits out food followed by a burping sign is also an indication of heartburn. Since heartburn is normally attributed to food ingested by your child, you might want to pay attention to what type of food you feed them and check their reactions afterwards.
Consult a Professional
Before deciding on a cure for your son or daughter’s condition, consult a medical expert. This will determine whether your child is suffering a normal phenomenon among babies or acid reflux (or GERD). Ignoring the possibility of having these two in your child can lead to serious complications. One of these possibilities could lead to death when you consider the low vulnerability of an infant. The best solution for this is a visit with a gastroenterologist or an eye/ear/nose/throat specialist to determine your child’s condition.
In most cases, the parents will decide on the treatment method to cure the child of acid reflux or GERD. Available methods include:
1. Medications — synthetic drugs that will address the signs and symptoms of GERD reducing the possibility of further complications attributed to the disease.
2. Holistic Treatment — alternative healing methods are considered the perfect solution in addressing the signs and symptoms of acid reflux and GERD in infants. Considering that most of the medications in the market are for adults, there might be side-effects if the medication is applied in children.
Another possible treatment for infants is to switch from traditional milk formula to one with ingredients that contain agents that will fight symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. Further studies show that this method is the best option available to modern medical technology. This method takes into consideration the sensitivity of infants to synthetic medications. According to one survey, around 40% recovery rate is attributed to this method.