Heartburn is a common complaint in children which is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest. This complaint occurs especially after eating a spicy or hearty meal. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid finding a way into the esophagus and windpipe, this situation is called acid reflux. Heartburn can affect children even at the infancy stage.
Causes of Heartburn in Children
There are various causes of heartburn in children but these are the most common causes.
Gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux )
This the major cause of heartburn In children. It occurs when stomach acid moves into the esophagus which is the connecting pipe between the mouth and the stomach. The stomach acid necessary for digestion is very harsh and acidic and if it finds it’s way into the lining of the esophagus, it could cause irritation and pains, thereby resulting in the condition called heartburn.
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
This is also a common cause of heartburn in children and especially common in infants as about 50% of babies less than 4 months old do experience it. The symptoms are just like acid reflux only that the acid released are stronger and occurs more frequently. If GERD is left untreated it could lead to the narrowing of the esophagus, and other complications like breathing problems and feeding issues.
- Immature digestive tract
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Eating within 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime
- Taking excess of chocolates
- Improper intake of food
- Intake of too many onions
- Intake of spices, chilies
- Intake of high-fat meats
- Wearing tight fitting clothing
Symptoms of Heartburn in Children
There are several symptoms associated with heartburn in children, watch out for these heartburn symptoms in your child:
- Chest pain
- Hoarse voice
- Painful swallowing
- Poor eating
- Sore throat
- Stomach ache
- Arching of the back during feedings
- Unable to sleep well
How to Treat Heartburn in Children
Treatment of heartburn in children largely depends on the age and cause of the heartburn. You could try more than one method for effective treatment of heartburn in your child.
- Keep your child in an upright position for about 30 minutes after feeding
- Give your child suffering from heartburn small meals throughout the day, instead of three large meals in a day.
- Make sure your child doesn’t eat later than two or three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and spicy, fried, or acidic foods for your children
- Once you notice heartburn in your child make sure your child doesn’t take chocolate, peppermint, caffeinated soda, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
Home Remedies for Heartburn in Children
There are some home remedies available for the treatment of heartburn in children, these includes but not limited to:
- Drinking lots of water. This is the most common home remedy because water helps to neutralize the acid in the esophagus.
- Taking ginger which helps to get rid of indigestion and bloating that could lead to the release of acid.
- Eat a small portion of food at regular intervals.
- Eat lemon
- Give your child 5-10gms of jaggery after meals.
- Wear loose fitting clothes for your child.
- Consuming cold things like ice cream is also a good home remedy for heartburn.
- Give your child a glass of buttermilk mixed with a teaspoon of black pepper. This is one of the best home remedies for heartburn in children.
- Aloe vera juice, too, helps in the treatment of heartburn.
- Give your child clove essential oil. It helps your child to stop the heartburn.