Gastroesophageal Reflux: How We Treat

How is gastroesophageal reflux treated?

The most important and initial treatment of reflux include lifestyle changes and reflux precautions. In babies, formula can be thickened to decrease the amount of spitting up, however this does not change the actual number of reflux episodes. Positioning a baby with his or her head slightly elevated can be useful.

Older children are instructed to avoid caffeine, chocolate, greasy food and tomato sauce, and they should avoid eating or drinking in the two hours before bedtime. The head of their bed can also be elevated.

Medications which either neutralize the stomach acid or decrease the production of stomach acid can be used to allow healing of inflammation caused by reflux. There are three types of medications, antacids that neutralize stomach acid, H2 blockers like Zantac, which decrease acid production and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec, which are the most potent inhibitors of acid production.

In a few children, reflux can be so severe or have such severe complications that surgery is required to tighten the muscle at the top of the stomach to control the reflux. This is done by a pediatric surgeon and can be done laparascopically, a surgical technique that makes a few very small incisions instead of one large one which makes healing much faster.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s Gastroesophageal reflux?

The doctors at the Digestive Health Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating reflux and its complications. All tests possibly needed in the evaluation are available at Children's Colorado. The Aerodigestive Clinic is a multispecialty clinic which includes gastrointestinal, ear, nose and throat, and pulmonary doctors who work together to evaluate children in who reflux may be a significant issue in their medical problems.