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Indigestion in children

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What is indigestion?

Indigestion simply means an upset stomach. It is also commonly called dyspepsia. Indigestion usually happens when there is trouble in digesting even simple food. It can be an ongoing problem, or it can occur only on some occasions.

What causes indigestion in children?

Indigestion occurs when someone eats large quantities of food, eats too fast, or eats food that doesn't "agree" with his/her body system. Indigestion in children is usually reported after meals. It may subside on its own within a few hours. Although, it is often not considered a matter of great concern. But symptoms should also not be ignored.

What are the symptoms of indigestion?

It is an uncomfortable feeling in the upper abdomen accompanied with following symptoms: Abdominal pain, discomfort, heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), bloating, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

What are the causes of indigestion in children?

It is not a disease but a symptom of many different health problems. Often it is related to the complaints of the gastrointestinal tract. The dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract is usually caused when the protective mucosa of stomach breaks due to the action of acid secreted by its glands. This break in protective mucosa leads to sensitivity, inflammation, and irritation of stomach lining. The diseases and other conditions related to indigestion are:

  • GERD
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Stress
  • H. Pylori infection
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Medication
  • Obesity

 

Lifestyle habits causing indigestion in children:

  • Eating too fast and eating in large quantities before bedtime or immediately starting. vigorous activity after eating.
  • Many children gulp large hunks of food instead of chewing properly. These foul habits only overtax the digestive system by making the stomach work harder and to secrete more HCL to break down the food.
  • Eating fatty, greasy, fried foods.
  • Stress.
 

When to see a doctor?

In children, indigestion is a once in a while phenomenon. It does not bother children as often as it does to an adult. But you will want to visit a doctor when a child presents some of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting with or without blood.
  • Appetite loss.
  • The tremendous loss of body weight.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Black greasy stools.
  • Pain in the belly remains constant for a while.
  • Signs of anemia and iron deficiency.
  • Sweating for no reason.
 

A doctor may advise the following:

  • X-Ray
  • Blood test
 

What are the preventive measures a parent should take care of?

Indigestion is not a disease. Mostly, only by understanding the cause a problem can be easily managed. A parent should keep the following in his/her mind:

  • Avoid too many chocolates.
  • Make sure the child is eating healthy fat-free grease free food.
  • Make sure the child does not only gulp but also chews.
  • Prepare and serve smaller meals instead of bigger ones.
  • Train him/her to eat slowly, so that food can be easily digested.
  • No immediate playing after meals, give your body a chance to digest meals.
  • Find ways to relax and decreases stress.
  • Washing hand before and after meals.
  • Adding fruits and fibers to the diet
  • Light exercise like cycling swimming helps to make digestion stronger.
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