If You or Your Child Has Trouble Swallowing
If you've had heartburn or acid reflux for so long that you have trouble swallowing, then it's a sign that damage to the esophagus has been building for awhile. The esophagus may be inflamed, scarred or full of ulcers, indicating esophageal cancer. Other symptoms to be on the look out for include nausea and vomiting, particularly if you're vomiting blood.
It's important to note that children can suffer from heartburn and acid reflux as well. Unless you have an extremely advanced child, he or she probably won't be able to put the discomfort into words, so take note if a baby experiences trouble swallowing. Other signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease in children are repeated regurgitation, asthmalike symptoms, frequent arching of the back and irritability after feedings. The good news? Many infants and children outgrow the condition, though don't sit around and wait for them to do so: See a doctor.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
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- American Gastroenterological Association. "Nearly 40 Percent of GERD Patients Taking PPIs Experience Recurring Symptoms." ScienceDaily. May 19, 2008. (June 22, 2009)http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/05/080515145404.htm
- Baldauf, Sarah. "Got Heartburn? A Caution About Your Proton Pump Inhibitor." U.S. News and World Report. May 29, 2009. (June 22, 2009) http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/2009/05/29/got-heartburn-a-caution-about-your-proton-pump-inhibitor.html
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- Brody, Jane E. "Finding, and Treating, Esophageal Cancer." New York Times. Dec. 2, 2008. (June 22, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/health/02brod.html?_r=1
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- "Heartburn or chest pain: When is it heart attack?" Mayo Clinic. April 30, 2009. (June 22, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/DG00016
- Jaret, Peter. "A Sigh of Relief for Heartburn Sufferers." New York Times. Nov. 8, 2007. (June 22, 2009)http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-gerd-ess.html
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- Jaret, Peter. "What to Ask About Heartburn." New York Times. Nov. 8, 2007. (June 22, 2009)http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-gerd-ask.html
- Maranto, Gina. "As Acid Reflux Cases Rise, Doctors Are Asking Why." New York Times. Dec. 11, 2001. (June 15, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/health/as-acid-reflux-cases-rise-doctors-are-asking-why.html
- Mohan, Venkat, ed. "When to Call the Doctor About Heartburn or GERD." WebMD. Feb. 11, 2008. (June 22, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/when-call-doctor
- "Study Finds a Link Between Some Heartburn Drugs and Hip Injuries in People Over 50." New York Times. Dec. 27, 2006. (June 22, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/27/health/27bone.html
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