Certain Factors May Create Acid Reflux Teens
Fast food. Crowded calendars. School, friends, sports, clubs, and maybe a job. All these factors play a role in the lies of many teenagers.Combined with a little stress, it’s a perfect combination for the development of acid reflux.
Once considered primarily a condition that affected adults in their 30s and older, today physicians recognize that acid reflux, or heartburn, can occur frequently in any age population, including infants, children, and teenagers. In the teen years, pressures of school dating and friendships, maintaining good grades for college, participating in social and extracurricular activities, and maybe even holding down a part-time job can all contribute to a stressful lifestyle. While some individuals seem to thrive on fast-paced, jam-packed schedules, other teens can develop stress, which can result in the development of acid reflux. Teen’s diets may also be higher in fast food and junk food, dietary no-no’s that can be major contributors to the development and persistence of acid reflux.
The signs and symptoms of heartburn in teens are similar to those seen in adults. But because of a prevailing notion that acid reflux affects only adults, and those with “grown-up” life pressures, the existence of the condition is often under-recognized and under-treated in teens, children, and infants.
Basically, the signs and symptoms which may indicate that your teen is suffering from acid reflux include a burning or painful sensation in the chest or upper abdomen area, as well as a burning pain in the throat. IN some cases, acid reaches the back of the throat, causing a sour or bitter taste, as well as hoarseness and sore throat. When acid irritates the tender lining of the throat, a persistent cough can develop. Some acid may also be inhaled, or aspirated, into the upper airway and lungs, resulting in more serious complications, such as bronchitis or even pneumonia.
Chronic acid reflux may result in a persistent pain or discomfort when swallowing, and can have an impact on a teen’s appetite over time.
And it can also cause sleep disturbances, as acid is more likely to reflux, or move backward, into the esophagus when your teen is lying on his or her back while sleeping. Reflux can occur even if your teen sleeps on his or her side, if the head and upper airway is not sufficiently elevated.Because acid reflux can lead to more serious health problems in your teen is left untreated, take your teen to a doctor is he or she experiences these symptoms consistently.
Your teen’s doctor may prescribe tests to determine if acid reflux is the cause of the symptoms. These tests may include blood and urine tests, and will likely include a simple procedure known as an upper endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube which has a light and, sometimes, a tiny camera on one end. Your physician will slide the endoscope down the esophagus to visualize the lower end of the esophagus, as well as the esophageal sphincter, in order to determine the cause of the acid reflux.
In some cases, the physician may also prescribe esophageal pH monitoring, which uses a sensor attached to a similar tube to measure the acidity of the acid in the lower esophagus.
Barium X-rays can also be prescribed. This simple procedure requires the patient to swallow a liquid mixture containing barium. Once ingested, the barium will help highlight areas on X-ray images to allow the diagnostician to determine if there are ulcers or other conditions that may be causing acid reflux.
Your teen’s doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes to help reduce the occurrence of acid reflux. These changes my include cutting out nighttime snacks, and limiting or entirely avoiding high-fat foods, as well as foods and beverages with caffeine. Because acid reflux can occur when the stomach is compressed, your teen’s doctor may suggest avoiding tight-fitting clothing. He or she may also recommend sleeping with the head and shoulders elevated at an angle, to help keep stomach acid in the stomach.