What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a backward flow of stomach contents into the esophagus—causing a chronic pathologic condition.
What are some symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
The primary symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in children and teens are regurgitation of predigested foods/drinks and heartburn- a burning discomfort in the chest. In babies, and young children, gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to problems during or after feedings including: frequent regurgitation or vomiting following a feeding, choking/wheezing, wet burps or wet hiccups, spitting up that persists beyond a child’s first birthday, irritable or inconsolable crying after eating, eating only small amounts or refusing to eat, and possibly failure to gain weight.
How does Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease progress?
GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus, larynx, and oral cavity if not medically treated. It can also increase the risk of ulcers, cancer, and swallowing difficulties. In babies and young children, it can lead to food refusal and subsequently difficulty gaining or maintaining weight.
How can I help treat my child’s Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
A medical professional can diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease and provide pharmacological and lifestyle interventions to help treat the reflux. Several medications are available to treat the acidity of reflux, and various diet changes can contribute to decreased symptoms of the condition as well. Keeping your baby upright during and following feedings/meals could minimize GERD. Additionally, avoiding certain food in children and teens can reduce the symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease. These foods include: citrus fruits, garlic and onions, spicy foods, chocolate, tomato based food items, anything containing caffeine, fried foods, and peppermint.
Our approach to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our multidisciplinary feeding team offers the most comprehensive treatment approach for children with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Our specialized team features a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and licensed professional counselor trained to deal with all aspects of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Therapy often involves making the appropriate medical referrals and treating other areas of the child’s feeding development.