Feb 12, 2016
Post By: Julie Henry, RN, MPA
Many people believe that only adults experience heartburn, but it is also fairly common in children.
Heartburn in children is most often caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GER), a condition where the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach (the esophageal sphincter) relaxes and stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.
"Spicy foods can exacerbate the symptoms of GER,” says Edaire Cheng, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Children’s Medical Center. GER in older children is often triggered by, or associated with:
GER is more common in infants than it is in older children because their esophageal sphincters are not as developed. “Infants also feed more often and spend a lot of time lying down, which predisposes them to a higher incidence of reflux,” says Dr. Cheng.
Lifestyle modifications are often the first method of treatment for children with GER. Dr. Cheng recommends parents, while consulting the pediatrician first:
If lifestyle adjustments do not relieve symptoms, your pediatrician may refer your child to a pediatric gastroenterologist for additional treatments, which may include:
Edaire Cheng, M.D. Dr. Cheng completed her pediatric residency and pediatric gastroenterology fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2012 NASPGHAN Foundation/AstraZeneca Award for Disorders of the Upper GI Tract, and the 2013 American Gastroenterological Association Research Scholar Award. Dr. Cheng specializes in:
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