Heartburn Emergencies Rampant in Children
Heartburn – or acid reflux – typically affects adults. Often adults who have diet and lifestyle factors that encourage the development of this disorder. We usually don’t associate heartburn with babies. But this doesn’t mean that babies don’t get it. In fact, babies are increasingly getting heartburn.
Yes, babies in diapers are getting heartburn. The problem is that babies often do not understand why they are feeling pain. So they may simply cry a lot, especially after eating. Typically babies should sleep easily after eating. But if the baby continues to cry after eating, heartburn may well be something to consider.
Older children can also have heartburn. Yes, children can also have poor diets and lifestyles. But in many cases, those mothers who have poor diets and lifestyles may be passing on the effects of those diets to their children. This can happen when the baby is in the womb. But it can also happen as the baby is breastfeeding. The quality of breast milk will depend on the diet of the mother.
Pediatric researchers from the University of California San Diego have determined that nearly half of all children’s apparent life-threatening event hospital admissions are due to acid reflux disease.
The research was conducted at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. The researchers randomly selected 313 cases of childhood admission into the hospital where the admission was gauged as an apparent life-threatening event.
Out of the 313 life-threatening event admissions, 154 of them, or 49%, were diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by hospital physicians.
The results of the study were a surprise to the researchers and to hospital staff, who weren’t aware of the prevalence of GERD among children, let alone how likely GERD can produce a life-threatening event.
How old were they?
The average (mean) age of the children was two months, and the average (mean) stay in the hospital after admission was two and a half days. Of the 154 children, 14 had recurrent life-threatening event admissions, while only five had new disorders develop.
Childhood acid reflux disease is not only growing, but its cause is puzzling researchers.
Nearly a third of the entire population among western countries will suffer periodically from acid reflux.
A 2014 study investigated GERD with a prebiotic supplement. The research tested 200 children and adults with a prebiotic supplement. The research found a significant number had reduced pain and discomfort with the prebiotic. Prebiotics can be successful because they encourage the growth of natural gut bacteria.
Doshi A, Bernard-Stover L, Kuelbs C, Castillo E, Stucky E. Apparent life-threatening event admissions and gastroesophageal reflux disease: the value of hospitalization. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Jan;28(1):17-21.
Noguera T, Wotring R, Melville CR, Hargraves K, Kumm J, Morton JM. Resolution of acute gastroenteritis symptoms in children and adults treated with a novel polyphenol-based prebiotic. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 14;20(34):12301-7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i34.12301.
Adams C. Heartburn Solved: How to Reverse Acid Reflux and GERD Naturally. Logical Books, 2012.