November 1 is Tummy Ache Awareness Day TM
On the day after Halloween, it is likely there are a lot of moms who will be dealing with stomach aches. For many children, Halloween is one big party with out of control intake of candy and treats. That is why the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association has designated the day after Halloween, November 1 as Tummy Ache Awareness Day TM .
While there are many children who suffer fullness, stomach aches and poor digestion a few days a year from poor eating, there are many other children who feel this way every single day. Children with Pediatric Acid Reflux may feel pain and discomfort from every bite of food. Heartburn, a sour taste in their mouth, fullness and throat pain are common symptoms. Some children feel the food and acid coming up their esophagus or food pipe and may experience nausea or a wet burp. Children with reflux never get a holiday from their discomfort. Certainly treatments such as careful eating, eating small, frequent meals and in some cases medication can lessen the symptoms. But eating foods that trigger reflux symptoms can throw off the entire digestive system. Typical party foods such as cupcakes, chocolate, soda and candy may all trigger symptoms. A child with reflux may ask for extra medicine or request easy to digest carbohydrates for a few days after Halloween to settle their stomach. Parents are faced with the dilemma of trying to balance between allowing their children to enjoy a holiday that is centered on unhealthy eating and protecting the vulnerable stomach of their refluxers.
My friend Sue has 4 active boys who regularly eat her out of house and home. However, her 8 year old is the picky eater of the family. He is the one who comes home with a stomach ache after a baseball game or a day at the amusement park while the other boys seem just fine. When the stomach flu hit the household, he always gets the worst case and it lasts longer than the other kids. Recently, he was diagnosed with acid reflux by his pediatrician and now takes medication as needed.
The goal of Tummy Ache Awareness Day TM is to increase awareness of Pediatric Acid Reflux. It is estimated that approximately 5-7 million children in the United States have acid reflux. However, we believe that there are many children who are under diagnosed or undiagnosed with acid reflux. If a child you know seems to have more stomach aches than other children, it is important to talk with the doctor about the cause of the stomach aches. While some stomach aches are caused by Halloween indulgence, other children may be suffering from acid reflux.