Ulcers And Your Child: What You Need To Know

Health & Medical Blog

Parents spend a great deal of their time and energy trying to keep their children as healthy and safe as possible. However, sometimes, no matter how zealous a parent is, their child can develop certain health conditions. While not as common as they are in adults, children too can develop ulcers. If this happens to your child, you may not know what to do to help your child overcome their ulcers and to prevent them in the future. Get to know some of the important facts about pediatric ulcers and how you can take care of your child if they develop them.

The Potential Causes of Ulcers in Children

There are generally two reasons that a child may develop ulcers. The first potential cause is stress. This stress can be physical or mental in nature. Physical stress can include serious illness, injury, or major surgery. The stress on the body can cause digestive problems that lead to the development of ulcers. 

Other stress is mental in nature. If your child is prone to being worried, gets stressed out easily, or has a form of anxiety disorder including generalized anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), they may be more prone to developing ulcers as well. 

Children may also develop ulcers through the use of over-the-counter medications known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. These medications can cause serious stomach upset, ulcers, and bleeding when children consume them. 

Treating Childhood Ulcers

When you find out your child has an ulcer, your child's pediatrician will likely recommend two types of prescriptions. The first is an antibiotic to rid your child's stomach of bacteria that could be causing the ulcers. The second is a medication to reduce the amount of acid in the gastric system. This keeps the acid in your child's stomach from further irritating ulcers, allowing them to heal. 

In some cases, ulcers may need to be treated surgically. Surgery to repair ulcers can include sewing an ulcer shut with internal stitches, closing it with a laser, or surgeries to control acid production in the stomach. The type of surgery depends on whether or not the ulcer is bleeding as well as the original causes of the ulcers. 

Preventing Future Ulcers

Once your child's ulcers are under control, you will want to take steps to prevent the ulcers from recurring. One of the first steps is to discontinue their use of NSAIDs. Instead of these pain-relieving drugs, you can give your child acetaminophen, which does not contribute to ulcer development. 

If your child's ulcer developed as a result of stress, try to help them get their stress and anxiety under control. This can include going to therapy for mental health issues, or learning meditative techniques and other coping strategies to manage anxiety and worry. 

Now that you know what to do if your child has an ulcer as well as the ways to prevent future ulcers, you are ready to take care of your child as well as possible. Contact a group like Ada Pediatrics PA if you need more help.


25 August 2015

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