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Heartburn: Not Just for Adults—Kids Get It Too
What Causes GERD?
- Spicy, acidic, or tomato-based foods
- Fatty or fried foods
- Citrus products, such as orange juice
- Caffeinated drinks, such as soda, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
What Are the Symptoms?
- Severe abdominal discomfort
- Lower chest pain
- Sensation of food or liquid regurgitating into the throat or mouth
- Sensation of food stuck down in the throat
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Poor weight gain or weight loss
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, coughing, or pneumonia
- Esophagitis—an inflammation of the esophagus
- Stricture—a narrowing of the esophagus that may make swallowing difficult
- Where does your tummy hurt? (Ask your child to point to where it hurts.)
- Does it hurt in your chest?
- Does it hurt when you eat or drink?
- Do you get a yucky or sour taste in your mouth? Does it taste like throw-up?
- Does food sometimes get stuck in your throat?
What Are the Treatment Options?
Take Action Now
Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation http://www.cdhnf.org
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders http://www.aboutgerd.org
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology http://www.cag-acg.org
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
El-Serag HB, Gilger M, Carter J, et al. Childhood GERD is a risk factor for GERD in adolescents and young adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004;99(5):806-812.
Gastroesophageal reflux. Nemour's Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgical/gerd%5Freflux.html . Updated June 2011. Accessed September 25, 2013.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated June 22, 2012. Accessed September 25, 2013.
Gastroesophageal reflux in children and adolescents. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerinchildren . Updated September 5, 2013. Accessed September 25, 2013.
Gold BD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease: could intervention in childhood reduce the risk of later complications? Am J Med. 2004;117(Suppl 5A):23S-29S.
Gold BD, Freston JW. Gastroesophageal reflux in children: pathogenesis, prevalence, diagnosis, and role of proton pump inhibitors in treatment. Pediatr Drugs. 2002;4:673-685.
Hassall E. Decisions in diagnosing and managing chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease in children. J Pediatr. 2005;146(Suppl 3):S3-12.
Jung AD. Gastroesophageal reflux in infants and children. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Dec 1;64:1853-1860.
Lightdale JR, Gremse DA, et al. Gastroesophageal reflux: management guidance for the pediatrician. Pediatrics. 2013;131(5):e1684-1695.
Nielsen RG, Bindsley-Jensen C, Kruse-Andersen S, et al. Severe gastroesophageal reflux disease and cow milk hypersensitivity in infants and children: disease association and evaluation of a new challenge procedure. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004;39(4):383-391.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/25/2013