Last week, I came across a mother who visited me for a second opinion for her 10-year-old health condition. He was been diagnosed with acid reflux, and the mother could not trust the doctor’s diagnosis. She thought acid reflux is an adult’s disease and couldn’t believe that a child could develop it. Her son had been avoiding food and complaining of strange lump-like sensation in his throat. Initially, she thought it as an excuse to avoid food but, as the symptom persisted, she took him to a doctor where he was diagnosed with the same.
Acid reflux can affect the children as it affects adults. There are several reasons why kids nowadays are easily susceptible to it. Know all about it by reading the blog below.
What is Acid Reflux?
The journey of food from the mouth to the stomach is one way. There is a ring-shaped muscle at the junction of the lower end of the food pipe and the beginning of the stomach. This ring-shaped muscle allows the food to enter into the stomach but prevents the reverse flow. In reflux, this ring-shaped muscle becomes relaxed and hence the contents of the stomach flow back into the food pipe. As the contents of the stomach are acidic, they irritate the food pipe resulting in symptoms of reflux.
It is interesting to note why kids nowadays are more prone to reflux. Below are the factors that make them more prone to reflux.
- Obesity: Excess belly fat present around the stomach puts pressure on the stomach causing reflux.
- Less physical activity: Kids nowadays spend more time sitting for studying and playing computer and mobile games. Sitting for a long time contributes to obesity.
- Slouching: Kids slouch while studying, watching TV, or playing games.
- Eating junk food: Fatty foods, such as French fries, potato chips, cookies, pastries, burgers, pizzas, etc. reduce the stomach emptying time. Thus, the food remains in the stomach for a long-time causing reflux.
- Weak lower esophageal sphincter: This is commonly observed in babies as their muscular system is not developed properly. But, they overcome it by 1.5 years as they grow. However, in some kids, it may not develop completely, thereby leading to reflux.
- Aerated drinks: Aerated drinks, such as soda, cause the stomach to distend. When it does, the ring-shaped muscle gets stretched causing reflux.
- Certain medications: Being on medicines for asthma, using antiallergy medicines may lead to this condition
- Chocolates: The consumption of chocolates causes the ring-shaped muscle to relax, thereby leading to reflux.
- Besides these, there are other metabolic and neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, etc., that may trigger reflux
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How to Know If Your Child has Acid Reflux?
Below is the list of common symptoms of acid reflux. If you note any of these in your child, you need to consult a doctor to diagnose acid reflux.
- Complaining of the burning sensation in the chest and throat
- Getting sour eructation in the mouth after food
- Sensation of something being stuck in the throat and not relieved by swallowing
- Throat irritation
- Dental erosion
- Bad breath
- Unusual presentation would be dry irritating cough
- In extreme cases, the child may not be able to gain weight
- Nausea and vomiting
- Painful swallowing
How to Manage Reflux in Children?
The approach to treat acid reflux should be holistic, and, besides medicines, other aspects, such as diet and lifestyle, should be managed to get long-lasting results.
Homeopathy is very effective in treating acid reflux. When prescribing appropriate homeopathic medicines, the patient’s symptoms are matched with the symptoms listed under the medicine. Lycopodium, Nux Vomica, Natrum Phos, Iris V, and Robinia are a few commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy has the advantage of offering long-lasting results and without any side-effects. Also, homeopathic medicines are non-habit-forming.
What Diet Should the Children Have When They Suffer from Acid Reflux?
As the phrase states, Prevention is Better Than Cure, we need to stop certain foods that are known to trigger reflux. Here are some healthy tips to prevent acid reflux in kids.
- Avoid fried food, chips, burgers, pizzas, chocolates, aerated drinks
- Restrict milk as it increases the gastric emptying time causing reflux
- Give kids small servings of food 6 times a day instead of 3 big meals.
- Encourage them to avoid overeating, particularly when it’s their favorite food.
- Avoid spicy food, gravies made of onion, tomatoes, and coconut.
- They can have home-made yogurt and buttermilk instead of milk.
Certain lifestyle changes also need to be done. Here are some lifestyle changes which can help avoid or alleviate acid reflux in kids.
- Encouraging physical activity to lose weight
- Maintaining a proper posture and avoid slouching while sitting or watching TV.
- Keeping a gap of 2 hours between meals and sleep.
- Elevate the head-end of kids’ beds to prevent acid reflux while they in a lying-down position.
Hope this article gives you answers to the queries related to reflux in children. If you have any doubts or concerns related to acid reflux in kids, get in touch with us at Life Force Homeopathy. Help your child obtain relief in acid reflux successfully and safely with effective homeopathic treatment.