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What You Need to Know About Acid Reflux in Children

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Updated July 10, 2009

Many people consider acid reflux disease (GERD) an adult problem. While that may be true in many cases, children, teens, and even infants, can suffer from acid reflux. Learning the symptoms of acid reflux in children, how it's diagnosed and treated, is important.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Infants
Reflux occurs often in normal infants. More than half of all babies experience reflux in the first 3 months of life. Reflux can become a more serious concern in some infants, when medical attention is needed, and knowing the symptoms of chronic reflux is important.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Children
When the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close properly, stomach contents and acid can back up into the esophagus.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Teens
Because of the increasing consumption of fast food and ever-expanding waistlines among teens, GERD is an increasing problem in teenagers.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Acid Reflux in Infants
If your baby is healthy and growing well, the doctor may make a diagnosis of reflux on a parent's description of symptoms and feeding history, and a physical exam alone. Many, if not most, cases of reflux in infants are diagnosed without the need for any testing. However, your baby's doctor may order tests if he or she suspects a more serious condition, such as GERD.

Diagnosing Acid Reflux in Children
Your child's doctor may base a diagnosis of acid reflux on your child's symptoms and a physical examination. The doctor also may order tests to verify the diagnosis, or to determine if a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is the cause of the reflux.

Diagnosing Acid Reflux in Teens
The tests used for diagnosing GERD in teens is not that different from the diagnostic process in adults.

Treatment

Treating Infants with Acid Reflux
Treatment of infant reflux depends on the severity of the problem. Treatment can include lifestyle modifications or medications.

Treating Children with Acid Reflux
The course of treatment the doctor prescribes for your child will depend on your child's age and symptoms. This treatment can include lifestyle modifications and medication.

Treating Teens with Acid Reflux
Your teenager's doctor will most likely suggest lifestyle modifications first, before considering any medications.

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