A Burning Problem: Heartburn in Children

Generally, it is not quite as common to see heartburn in children as it is in adults. However, heartburn in children can occur, and sometimes can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Acid reflux disease is a problem with the base of the esophagus. The muscle that is at the base of the esophagus can sometimes be rather weak and may allow stomach contents to go back up into the esophagus. This can cause damage to the esophagus and possibly to the stomach itself.

Preventing Heartburn in Children

Heartburn in children should probably be diagnosed by a physician, since it could be a sign of an underlying problem. However, there are a few steps you can take at home to prevent and alleviate heartburn in children that are fairly easy to do.

Controlling or changing a child's diet may help immensely with their heartburn problem. Avoiding certain foods can lessen the stomach's acid content. Foods that should be avoided can include milk, citrus fruits and drinks, tomatoes and tomato sauces and chocolate.

Keeping a food diary can be a big help in determining what the major cause of the heartburn in children is. It is possible to find orange juice with a lower acid content, so your child may not have to give up some foods. Fried and fatty foods can also lead to heartburn in children, so limiting a child's intake of these foods can help immensely.

There are a few other steps you may want to take as well. Evening heartburn in children can be prevented simply by not allowing your child to eat right before bed. Smaller meals with a few snacks during the day can help the stomach gain control again. Elevating the head or head and torso while sleeping can also help the older child.

Medications can be prescribed or recommended by your doctor. There are quite a few good, over the counter medications that can help prevent or eliminate heartburn in children. However, it is always a good idea to read the directions and warnings carefully and follow your doctor's advice when it comes to medications.

Heartburn in children can be prevented to a certain degree without the use of medications. However, there are effective medications available if needed, and if your doctor recommends them. By taking preventive measures and helping your child regulate their food intake, the heartburn situation can improve drastically.