In many cases, your child’s symptoms can be treated by simple
lifestyle or dietary changes. However, GERD can be difficult to
treat in some medically complex children and your specialist may
recommend a medical approach using prescription or over the
counter (OTC) medications to control GERD, or in rare cases, a
surgical approach to prevent the severe complications of GERD.
Neurologically impaired children are at high risk for developing
GERD complications and physicians know that these children may
need preventive medical management (medications) that
focus on controlling stomach acid or avoiding motility problems
and surgical interventions that provide nutrition (tube
feedings) or that prevent complications from acid reflux (fundoplication).
Many children born with congenital malformations are also more
likely to develop GERD due to their problems with gastric
emptying, strictures, or dysmotility; and these pediatric
patients may also need more aggressive GERD management.
Treatment of GERD will depend on your child’s age, overall
health, underlying condition, medical history, physical exam,
your child’s ability to tolerate certain therapies or
medications, your preferences, and the severity of your child’s
GERD or GERD complications. Your child’s physician will discuss
treatment options with you, and these options may include:
diet or lifestyle changes, medications, or surgical
Based on your child’s physical exam findings, the medical
history, and your answers to GERD questions, your GERD
specialists can recommend strategies to avoid reflux such as
dietary, feeding, and positioning changes to help your child.
These changes may affect your entire family. You and your
family may have to consider changes in the home or way your
family eats and cooks to help your child lose weight, avoid
tobacco smoke, or eliminate foods that provoke GERD symptoms.
Lifestyle and dietary changes a specialist or GERD team often
If your baby is being breast-fed, you may be asked to avoid
eating any foods that provoke acid reflux such as milk products,
soy, wheat, nuts, chocolate, peppermint, caffeine, carbonated
beverages, spicy foods, or acidic foods such as tomatoes or
oranges. If your infant is taking formula, you may be asked to
try thickening the formula with rice (helps reduce vomiting) or
provide your infant with smaller, more frequent, amounts of
formula throughout the day. GERD specialists may also recommend
feeding or positioning strategies to help your infant such as
burping your baby several times during a feeding, keeping your
infant in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after a
meal, propping your child up in bed at night, and not feeding
your baby just before bedtime.
For Children and Teens:.
The nutritionist on a GERD team may recommend that your child
avoid some or all foods that can provoke acid reflux such as
beverages containing caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, fried or
fatty foods, peppermint, garlic, onion, citrus fruits, and
tomato-based foods including childhood favorites like spaghetti