Friday, April 13, 2012

The Tragedy Of Heartburn In Children

Most adults experience heartburn at some point in their life, especially after indulging in spicy, greasy or too large meals. But, unfortunately, children can also feel the pain that food and stomach acid can do to the esophagus and throat. Some estimates say that about two percent of kids younger than nine and five percent of kids younger than 17 suffer from occasional heartburn. It'e also been discovered that heartburn strikes at least half of all babies.

A major problem with heartburn in children is that cannot grasp what's going on in their bodies so it makes explaining what's bothering them difficult. Watching how a kid acts after a meal will help determine if the child is having a heartburn attack.

In babies younger than three months, they will cry excessively or spit up until the problem is solved. In older children they may develop a sore throat and begin to cough, become restless, feel pain in their chest, or stop eating altogether.

Hearburn in children occurs because of a muscle between the stomach and esophagus is not sealing the way it should, thereby letting stomach acid enter the esophagus and burn it. If that muscle does not close well, the food can back up from stomach to esophagus causing heartburn. In babies, six months or younger, their digestive system hasn't fully developed yet which is why they spit up. It's usually after the six months that their stomach develops properly and their heartburn diappears.

Heartburn, in older kids, will be determined by how they react to food. The same causes of heartburn in adults are the same for children: drinking too much carbonated soda, eating foods that are acidic, spicy or greasy, or eating too fast or too much. Chocolate is a child's staple. Now imagine telling them that it might be the reason for their heartburn. No caring parent would want to see the expression on their child's face when they're told they may have to give it up.

To stop heartburn in children, try the following things:

    * don't have them eat foods that cause heartburn,
    * don't let them go to bed immediately after eating, Wait an hour or longer.
    * don't let them play right after a meal, let them wait a while.
    * try to have them eat small meals throughout the day instead of large ones a few times a day,
    * and don't have them wearing tight fitting clothing that press on the stomach and chest.

Overweight children are more prone to frequent heartburn, so losing weight might be in order. Kids living with parents who smoke are exposed to second-hand smoke, which is one of big causes of heartburn. There is no better incentive to stop smoking than your children's health.

If the symptoms persist, the heartburn is more frequent or the child is not developing well, it is very important to consult your pediatrician. The doctor will diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action to take. Don't give the child any medication for the condition until you talk to their doctor.

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