March 20, 2010,
S.S. asks from Denver, CO on March 18, 2010
4 Year Old with a Constant Stomach Ache
My son (just turned 4) has been complaining of a stomach ache for about 3 weeks now. He was also reporting that he was "throwing up in his mouth" and swallowing it. Our pediatrician felt like his stomach/intestines were irritated (possibly from having a stomach bug a while ago) and put him on a teaspoon of over-the-counter Mylanta for 2 weeks. We are about one week in and I'd say he's had mild improvement. He's only thrown up in his mouth once and has started complaining less about the stomach ache throughout the day. However, I believe his stomach is still hurting. When I ask he says it's still bothering him and his appetite is still poor. He does still bring it up during the day a little....less than before we started the Mylanta but still once or twice per day. I'm having a hard time gauging how much pain he is in and the location of the pain. It seems at times that he is describing a sensation similar to heartburn more than a stomach ache...and with the throwing up in his mouth I'm wondering if he has developed some sort of reflux. Does it seem possible that a child could suddenly develop acid reflux at 4? Has anyone had any experience with this? Any other thoughts on what this could be? Thanks!
M.H. answers from Atlanta on March 18, 2010
There can be a sudden onset of anything because of the illness and because of any over the counter meds as well. Yes, I have experience! I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 11 years old and was not treated properly and lived with it for years. It all starts with the fact that there is NO acid in the stomach to digest food. Meds and illnesses can get the chemical balance of a body off. That's what happened to me. Acid reflux and GERD as it is sometimes described is caused by a lack of acid. The stomach is supposed to be acidic to break the food down so that it will digest and keep moving through his little system. When there is no acid it sits in the stomach and rots...
When cleaning out your refrigerator, have you ever opened a piece of tupperware when it had something really old in it? It spits at you because of the gases that have built up. That's what happens with reflux..the gases in the stomach from the undigested food have no where to go so they push against the esophageal valve...and it burns because the esophagus is alkaline not acidic...Being on Mylanta may give temporary relief but it will rebound and come back with a vengeance.
Probiotics, prebiotics, a good absorbable multivitamin, raw fruits and vegetables and possibly a fiber supplement. His system needs to get back to where it is supposed to be before it does any further damage. If your doctor does not think this is important now, I would consult with a different one or go to a ND instead of an MD. They have a better handle on nutrition.
2 moms found this helpful
A.O. answers from San Francisco on March 19, 2010
Yes, children can have acid reflux, my oldest was born with it and had to have surgery at 6 months to fix it. Luckily he doesn't have any issues. Good luck to you.
B.L. answers from Dallas on March 18, 2010
Ugh. My dd is almost 5 and complaining of pretty much the same things. She has dealt with this for probably almost a year now! So frustrating. We have done an ultrasound and a xray of some kind and they haven't shown anything. We have also done all types of blood work - which also came up with nothing out of the ordinary. Which is great news - but also frustrating because she is still complaining of a tummy ache.
I will be interested in the responses to this question....Sorry to hear you are struggling with something similar as us.
A.D. answers from Salt Lake City on March 19, 2010
he can absolutely develope reflux. Our bodies have a tendency to become "oversensitzed" to certain foods. I'll bet if you kept track of what he is eating you would see some consistentcy of when the "throwing up " is happening. I have three kids with some sort of reflux. Even when they get laughing hard they get some "throw up" in their mouths. I would check in to getting an endoscopy done. If it is a consistent thing, it may be damaging the esophogeal lining (of his throat). I am sure the mylanta is helping because it is an acid reducer. However, you don't want him to be on it for too long due to ingredients in it that are not good for you. So, I think if I were you, I would start by limiting acidic foods and see if anything is improving. If you google "Acidic foods" a whole gamit will come up. If that is not helping, I would consider taking him to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Good luck.
J.H. answers from Atlanta on March 18, 2010
Do you think he may have a stomach allergy? Or maybe even gastroenteritis?
C.S. answers from Victoria on March 18, 2010
I agree with previous poster & recommend some diet changes along with the mylanta. Mylanta just makes tolerating the symptoms, not fixing the problem. Yes, illness can throw the digestive system off. go to a simple diet for a fay or two, BRAT diet, bannanas, rice, apple sauce, toast. Then begin to introduce real food such as fruits & veggies, yogurt w/ live active cultures low in sugar. You should see a big improvement by day 4 & energy happy levels should be up. Also place a few blocks, boards, or books under the head of his bed to prevent any refluxing at night that may interupt his sleep. Best of luck & lots of hugs for your little guy, reflux/heartburn is awful!
J.A. answers from Denver on March 19, 2010
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on March 18, 2010
It's absolutely possible that a child could develop reflux (GERD technically), and the throwing-up in his mouth could certainly be a sign of it as it's related to the weakening of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter that allows stomach acid and digested food back into the esophagus creating the heartburn.
If the Mylanta doesn't show tremendous improvement, I'd certainly recommend going back to the pediatrician and asking for a referral to a GastroEnterologist (GI specialist).
Mylanta is only 1 of several different kinds of medication available for children to treat heart burn if that is, in fact, what's going on with him. The best thing, though, always is to have a diagnosis first to make sure the treatment is appropriate.