While chronic heartburn and GERD are often considered to be adult disorders, it is becoming more common among children and teens. Because of the increasing consumption of fast food and ever-expanding waistlines among teens, GERD is becoming an increasing problem in teenagers.
Under normal conditions, food passes through the esophagus, and the muscle at the bottom of your esophagus closes off so food and liquids will remain in your stomach. This muscle is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES doesn't close properly, stomach contents and acid can back up into the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD in TeensGreasy, fatty fast foods are popular, especially among teens. And if your teen has GERD, symptoms can occur after eating. Some of the symptoms of GERD in teens include a burning sensation in the chest or throat, a bitter taste in the mouth, and in some cases, respiratory problems. If these or other symptoms of GERD occur, medical attention is needed.
More on GERD symptoms in teens.
Diagnosing GERD in TeensYour child's doctor may base a diagnosis of acid reflux on your teen's symptoms, a physical examination, and your teen's response to medical treatment. For example, if your teen's symptoms improve after treating proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), then it's probably GERD. If your teen's symptoms do not improve, the doctor may order tests to determine if the acid reflux is caused by GERD or another disorder.
Treating GERD in TeensYour teenager's doctor will most likely suggest one or more lifestyle modifications first, before considering any medications. These modifications can include what they should eat and when they should eat.
More on treating GERD in teens.
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