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Treatment Options for Children with GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) is mainly an adult health issue. However, it may also affect infants and children. However, this condition, particularly in babies, usually arises because their digestive system has not yet fully developed. In many cases, they grow out of GERD after reaching their first year.

The common symptoms of pediatric GERD include heartburn, gas, tummy pain, recurring vomiting or coughing and loss of appetite. To examine the condition, doctors use various methods involving various tools like barium swallow, pH probe and endoscopy.

To treat GERD, lifestyle changes may need to be incorporated into the younger patient’s daily life. Here are the suggested modifications for infants with GERD:

  • Elevating the baby’s head
  • Maintaining the baby in an upright position for up to 30 minutes after feeding
  • Adjusting the baby’s feeding schedule accordingly
  • Introducing solid food (seek the doctor’s approval before doing this)

 

For toddlers and other older children, here are the recommended courses of action to reduce the likelihood of the onset of GERD symptoms:

  • Elevating the child’s head as he or she sleeps
  • Keeping the child upright up to two hours after eating
  • Serving smaller meals throughout the day compared to serving three large ones
  • Limiting certain food or beverages that trigger the GERD symptoms
  • Encouraging the child to participate in sports or any physical activity

 

To address the pain or discomfort or gas, medications like calcium carbonate antacid and simethicone can help. Antacids in high doses may cause diarrhea, though. As for the long-term side effects, the medication can contribute to the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency or thinning of the bones.

When medication and other noninvasive procedures are not effective at controlling the symptoms of the condition, surgery may help alleviate the patient’s suffering. The most common procedure involves wrapping the top portion of the stomach, particularly the area occupied by a muscular valve that regulates the proper downward flow of liquids and solids from the esophagus and down to the stomach.

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