Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the valve that connects the oesophagus to the stomach (esophageal sphincter) does not work properly allowing food and stomach acids to flow from the stomach into the oesophagus, throat, and mouth.
GERD is more common in infants and adults than in young children, but is not unheard of. A child with GERD will have pain in the throat and chest area, and will regurgitate frequently after meals. Because of this, they may fail to properly gain weight.
Another dangerous result of GERD is known as Barrett’s oesophagus. When the lining of the oesophagus becomes damaged from the stomach acids, scarring forms and makes swallowing food difficult. This condition also increases the likelihood of oesophageal cancer as an adult.
If you believe your child may have GERD you should see the doctor. Children respond well to acid blockers and antacids which relieve the pain caused by GERD.You will also need to modify your child’s diet. Foods such as tomato products, citrus, and carbonated beverages, as well as spicy or greasy foods are known to aggravate the condition.
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