6 Home Remedies Against Heartburn in Children

Heartburn in children can occur when they're overweight, their diet isn't optimal, and also if the sphincter muscle is incompetent.
6 Home Remedies Against Heartburn in Children

Last update: 13 January, 2022

Children can suffer from heartburn, just like adults, and this is sometimes a consequence of gastroesophageal reflux. This disease appears when the sphincter of the esophagus isn’t completely competent and the food or liquids contained in the stomach come back up to it. As a result, an uncomfortable burning sensation is produced. Today, we’ll offer 6 home remedies against heartburn in children.

Although heartburn is a typical symptom of adulthood, children also develop it under certain circumstances. For example, when they contract the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori.

The first thing to be clear about is that it’s best to go to a pediatrician at the first sign of heartburn, as there are several possible causes and you need to identify the specific cause in order to offer the right kind of care. Reversing this situation as soon as possible is essential in order to prevent irreversible changes in the epithelium of the esophagus.

What to do to improve the feeling of heartburn in children

A child doubled over and holding his stomach.

To try to alleviate the discomfort of heartburn in children, it’s mandatory that you make certain changes in their diet and in some of their daily life habits. With that in mind, here are 6 remedies for heartburn in children.

1. Avoid irritating foods

According to a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, avoiding spicy and greasy foods is essential, as well as carbonated and caffeinated beverages. It’s important to note that chocolate can also cause some gastric irritation and worsen discomfort, so it’s best to restrict its intake.

2. Have enough time to eat

Eating in a hurry encourages the intake of more food and air. This results in larger portions and a feeling of postprandial heaviness.

Therefore, it’s best to take the time to sit at the table, insert small bites in your mouth, and eat slowly. This way, the food is properly chewed and subsequent digestion is facilitated.

3. Don’t go to bed right after dinner

Finally, it’s important not to go to sleep immediately after intake and to allow a couple of hours for your stomach to empty completely. Especially after a copious intake, as digestion tends to be even slower.

4. Sleep with the head elevated

Likewise, it’s a good alternative to lie down with the torso slightly elevated. This way, it’s more difficult for food to rise up due to a simple matter of gravity, which greatly alleviates the symptoms. In the same way, if your little one lies on their left side, rest is even better.

5. Keep the house smoke-free

At the same time, you need to avoid smoking indoors or near your child, as tobacco smoke has been shown to increase the incidence of this problem. In general, the harmful effects of this poison affect not only the health of the smoker but that of and those around them as well.

6. Wear loose clothing

It’s also a good idea to avoid tight clothing, as the pressure exerted on the abdomen stimulates the rise of food through the esophagus. This occurs mainly when the sphincter isn’t very competent.

Being overweight, a predisposing factor for reflux in children

An overweight girl.

In addition to the strategies discussed, it’s important to practice physical activity as part of the strategy for adopting healthy habits.

On the one hand, being overweight or obese is a factor that worsens heartburn, as excess abdominal fat puts pressure on the stomach and favors reflux. At the same time, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with certain changes in metabolism and diet, which are directly related to this gastric discomfort.

When to go to the doctor?

It could be normal for the child to occasionally suffer from heartburn after a heavy and spicy meal. However, this symptom shouldn’t be repeated regularly, as this could indicate the presence of some alteration in digestive function.

In any case, when the symptoms don’t improve with these measures, your child will need to see a doctor. The specialist will be able to recommend the appropriate pharmacological treatment to combat the underlying problem and improve your child’s quality of life. However, whenever possible, natural remedies should be prioritized over medications.

Heartburn in children is a problem that must be treated

As you’ve seen, children can also suffer from heartburn and this condition often has a solution. It’s best to attack the cause of the problem to prevent it from reappearing after a while. With this in mind, it’s important to promote weight control, optimize diet, and adopt healthier lifestyle habits.

At the same time, it’s essential to avoid the presence of toxins in the home, especially when children are there. Breathing tobacco smoke is very harmful, not only for digestion but also for the lungs and the body in general.

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  • Sethi, S., & Richter, J. E. (2017). Diet and gastroesophageal reflux disease: role in pathogenesis and management. Current opinion in gastroenterology33(2), 107–111. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1097/MOG.0000000000000337
  • Ness-Jensen, E., & Lagergren, J. (2017). Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology31(5), 501–508. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2017.09.004