Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Heartburn

Definition

  • Pain or burning caused by irritation of the lower esophagus from stomach acid. The esophagus is the tube from mouth to stomach.
  • Pain is located in the lower chest or upper belly
  • Also, called acid indigestion

Call or Return If

  • Heartburn doesn't improve after 2 days of treatment
  • Heartburn doesn't go away after 1 week of treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

Symptoms

  • Burning pain behind the lower part of the breastbone or the upper stomach.
  • Pain is worse with lying down.
  • Can cause a sour (acid) taste in the mouth. Reflux most often follows large meals.

Causes

  • Irritation of the lower esophagus by the reflux of stomach acid

After Care Advice

Overview:
  • Belching is normal. So is some reflux of stomach contents when bending over.
  • Heartburn is less common, perhaps 5% of children.
  • It's due to stomach acid going up into the esophagus.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Antacids:
  • Most often, heartburn is easily treated. Give 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 - 30 ml) of liquid antacid by mouth. You can use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed.
  • If you don't have an antacid, use 2 to 3 ounces (60 - 90 ml) of milk.
  • For heartburn that keeps coming back, give an antacid 1 hour before meals. Also, give a dose at bedtime. Do this for a few days.
Acid Blocking Medicines:
  • Your doctor may suggest an acid blocking medicine. These drugs are called H2 blockers. No prescription is needed.
  • Examples are Zantac and Pepcid.
  • Give the medicine as directed.
  • Stay on it for at least 2 weeks.
Prevention of Heartburn:
  • Eat smaller meals. Large meals overfill the stomach.
  • Avoid bedtime snacks. (Reason: Your child will be lying down soon)
  • Do not eat foods that make heartburn worse. Examples are chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, sodas, and caffeine.
  • Do not bend over during the 3 hours after meals.
  • Do not wear tight clothing or belts around the waist.
  • Lose weight if this is a problem.
What to Expect:
  • Most often, heartburn goes away quickly with treatment.
  • Heartburn also tends to come back. So, preventive measures are important.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Article 2538