The irritation and discomfort of acid reflux is associated with many contributing factors, listed on this page. Whether a child has one or all, it is helpful to determine the cause in order to remedy it when possible.
What is reflux?
Gastric reflux is the backward flow of stomach contents into the esophagus, or at times farther into the airway, mouth, sinuses, and even the middle ear. Stomach acid in particular causes irritation in these areas.
Saliva contains a natural *buffer (bicarbonate) that neutralizes acid in the esophagus. If salivary production is reduced, its protective capabilities are compromised.*a neutralizing solution; naturally occurring in the body, or used in pharmaceutics to protect medication from stomach acid degradation
Impaired peristalsis of the esophagus
The esophagus is a muscular tube that squeezes food towards the stomach (much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste). This muscular action is called peristalsis. It keeps what we ingest moving in the right direction.
Impaired esophageal peristalsis allows things to move in the wrong direction, such as stomach contents refluxing back into the esophagus.
Failed natural lines of self-defense within the tissue
Each part of the gastrointestinal tract has its own defense system to protect itself from stomach acid (as well as other irritants). If these defenses are compromised, the tissues lining these organs are vulnerable to injury from stomach acid. See Body’s line of defense against HCl for more.