Acid Reflux

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Acid reflux can be a major source of discomfort and fussiness for babies and children. Reflux happens when stomach acids enter the esophagus. This is often the result of improper closing or relaxing of the muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. In babies with reflux, breast milk or formula may enter the throat or mouth, causing them to vomit or have “wet burps.” Older children will burp and often describe feeling a burning sensation in the chest and throat (also known as heartburn). When reflux occurs after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Usually, babies will outgrow reflux before they become preschool age. However, in some cases, symptoms will persist well into childhood and can cause lasting effects. Years of reflux can lead to breathing problems, irritation or even bleeding in the esophagus, and scar tissue that makes it difficult to swallow.

Common Symptoms of Acid Reflux

  • Frequent vomiting or spitting up, especially after meals
  • Choking or coughing after meals
  • Crying, fussiness and irritability after eating
  • Refusing to eat, or only eating small amounts of food each meal
  • Lack of weight gain, or weight loss

Tips for Reducing Symptoms

  • Thickening formula or breast milk with a small amount of oat cereal has been shown to help in some cases
  • Keep baby in a vertical position during and immediately following feedings
  • Avoid “trigger” foods, including (most commonly) dairy, citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, fatty or fried foods, tomatoes or tomato-based sauces, garlic and onions, and peppermint
  • Raise the head of the child’s bed 6 to 8 inches to minimize reflux at night

Treatment Options

Dr. Kiera Smilak is well-versed in using safe, effective, natural treatments for acid reflux. We will work with you to create a customized treatment plan for your child that might include:

  • Nutritional Supplementation
  • Nutritional Counseling and Testing
  • Allergy Testing and Treatment

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© 2019 Dr. Kiera Smialek ND, FABNP - All Rights Reserved
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