May Your Child Have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Reflux (GER) in Children

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Children, pediatric GERD, Reflux (GER) in Children,
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which is a disease that can cause similar complaints with many diseases and conditions in children, may sometimes go unnoticed due to other disease symptoms. GERD (sometimes simply abbreviated as "GER" or "GERD") occurs as a result of stomach contents escaping into the esophagus (esophagus).

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a very common condition in children of all age groups, where the stomach contents return to the esophagus, even the pharynx and mouth. Regurgitation and vomiting may accompany. If this condition continues more frequently and continuously, causing worrying symptoms and unwanted consequences, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It specifically results in esophagitis or other esophageal manifestations or respiratory system sequelae. The variety of symptoms and complications of GERD changes with age in children.

The return of stomach contents into the esophagus, GER is actually a physiological condition that can occur in healthy babies, children and adults. It usually occurs in very short episodes (<3 minutes) and in the postprandial period with no symptoms, esophageal damage or complications, or a very mild discomfort. If these reflux processes cause alarming symptoms and undesirable conditions, there is GERD.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a common childhood problem with a good clinical course, but the prevalence of GER disease in all age groups is gradually increasing in proportion to socioeconomic conditions, modern urban life and ready food consumption. Esophageal or extra-esophageal chronic cough, sore throat, hoarseness can be seen. The variety of symptoms and complications of GER disease varies with age in children.

The main symptoms and clinical features of children with reflux disease:
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cough
  • Vomiting
  • Low voice
  • Globus pharyngeus (sticking sensation as if there is a foreign body in the throat)
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Recurrent attacks of croup
  • Sleep apnea
  • Growth retardation

In fact, all of the above symptoms and conditions are consequences of common causes. For example, sleep apnea may occur in obese children, in patients with sleep apnea, acid escapes more easily in congestion attacks during sleep.

Night milk drinking or night feeding can facilitate reflux disease in children.

Endoscopic examinations, barium graphs and 24-hour pH examinations are required for diagnosis.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes, changing diet and nutritional intervals and, if necessary, medical treatment. In short, reflux disease treatment in children is done as follows:

Lifestyle Changes: The child's head level can be raised 30 degrees in the bed. While the number of eating meals was increased; The amount of food eaten can be reduced. Feeding should be stopped at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Walking, taking a hot bath or sitting on the toilet for a few minutes can speed up gastrointestinal emptying. Some researchers also report that wearing loose clothing and weight loss is very important.

Changes in Diet: The consumption of chocolate, carbonated drinks, caffeinated foods, citrus juices, tomato products, mint foods, fried foods, and other foods high in spice should be restricted.

Meidkal Treatment: Drug therapy is given to children with GERD to reduce intestinal gas, neutralize or decrease the production of stomach acid, and increase intestinal coordination.

Surgical treatment is rarely required in patients with pediatric GERD.

Examination of the patient with suspected GERD by a pediatric gastroenterologist is the most accurate approach.

Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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