Posted in health issues

GERD: Why do we need to know about it?

Well, to begin with, what exactly is this GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux per se is a normal phenomenon in which sometimes the contents of the stomach regurgitate back into the esophagus or foodpipe. It occurs in practically everyone; right from the newborn period to infancy and even in children and adults.

But, if the reflux occurs too often or affects the health of the person, then it is abnormal. That is when it is called Gastroesophageal reflux Disease. 

Now, what causes GERD?

1. Inherent weakness of the muscles of the foodpipe.

2. Prematurity: premature babies are more prone to GERD.

3. Certain foods like chocolates, coffee, mint, tomatoes, juices, carbonated drinks.

4. Poor eating habits like excessive gaps between meals, immediately lying down after eating, eating too spicy foods.

5. It could also be genetic.

Now, let’s talk about GERD in different age groups:

Newborns and infants:

The reflux as such is very common in newborns and infants. It is at its peak by about 4 months of life and disappears in 88% of babies by 1 year of age and in nearly all by 2 years. That is the usual possetting or little removal of curd or milk after feeds. This process is effortless and in fact occurs in almost all babies. But, it is abnormal if:

1. The infant vomits a lot

2.  Not gaining weight

3. Continuosly crying, irritable, always hungry

4. Is Choking, coughing and arches his/her back on and off.

5. Refuses to feed or feeding aversion

6. Persistent hiccups

There are 2’P’s of managing such babies:

1. Position: Keep the infant upright after feeds. Do not keep them in semi seated or seated position. That aggravates the reflux immediately after feeds. During sleep time, supine position (lying on the back) is good enough. They can be kept in prone position (lying on tummy) only when they are awake and under supervision.

2. Paediatrician: Get in touch with your paediatrician when you notice the above symptoms. Your doctor will guide you in how to manage the feeds; how much to give and how frequent, thickening of the feeds, and medicines that are to be given. He/she may also make you undergo some tests for the baby if required.

Older children:

Toddlers and older children may also experience symptoms of GERD. A few of them are as follows:

1. They may have food refusal

2. Complain of chest pain or abdominal pain

3. Persistent cough and wheezing

4. Sleep disturbances

5. Dental erosion

Again, 2 ‘P’s of managing such children.

1. Position: They can be encouraged to move about immediately after food. If there are sleep disturbances, you can make them sleep in left lateral position with head end of the bed elevated. Also, foods that cause reflux, as mentioned above, should be avoided.

2. Paediatrician: He/she will guide you in the consumption of the necessary medicines and doing any tests if required.

GERD in children and adults are due to entirely different causes. In adults, it’s mainly because of lifestyle and eating habits.

GERD if neglected or untreated has disastrous consequences. Apart from the anxiety that it causes in the parents, it has numerous effects on the infant and child’s well being too.

So, what are these consequences?

1. Untreated GERD can cause recurrent pneumonia in the child.

2. Continuous cough and wheezing leads to asthma in later life.

3. Also, it aggravates ear infections and sinusitis.

4. If still untreated, the continuous reflux can damage the foodpipe severe enough to  cause its blockage.

5. The lack of weight gain leads to multiple nutrient deficiencies.

So, it is important to recognize the symptoms and signs early and treat them. Infants and young children are unable to vocalise their symptoms. Hence, we as parents, need to be aware of this condition and seek treatment when necessary. So, we all need to be aware of GERD. 

P.S.: Source of the above information – Nelson Pediatrics: 20th edition and personal experience.

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.

Posted in mom's life, Personal

‘I used to tie my son at home’

The other day, as I was home alone with my two kids, I realised that how difficult it is for a single person to handle two little brats who are not even a quarter of their age!! My mother in law was out of town for a couple of days, husband was out of town for work and maid was on leave! And I was very confident that I will handle everything properly; the kitchen, the house, the kids and myself. But I guess I was living in a fantasy land, because when reality struck, it was a different scene altogether!! By the end of the day, everything was a mess! After I managed to put both my kids to sleep, and hubby also returned home in the night, I breathed a sigh of relief.

The next day, when the maid came, she was shocked to see the condition of the house! She asked me, “Kya hua yaha? Koi toofan aaya that kya?” (What happened here? Was there a storm?)

I told her, “Ha, toofan ke saath bhukamp bhi aaya tha..”(yes, there was an earthquake along with the storm too..)

And then I asked her that how did she manage to raise her kids alone. She was working with us for the last 20 years; and I knew that she had 4 kids- one girl and three boys. But I din’t know how hard she had worked to raise her kids to be what they were today. I actually saluted her after she was done with her story!

She got married at a very early age and was staying in a village near Karnataka. She got 4 kids, each after a gap of 2 years, the eldest one being a girl. But, when her husband lost his job and started abusing her, she left him. She then came to Mumbai, where she had some relatives. Her kids then were aged 8, 6, 4 and 2 respectively. She managed to get a shanty somehow using her relatives’ help. Then she started searching for work. She joined our house first and started with the housework. Gradually, she got more work. As she had saved up some money and with my mother in law’s help, she paid the rent for the shanty and enrolled her elder 2 kids in a local school.

When the eldest girl and boy would be in school, her 4 year old would be looked after by their neighbour, but she would keep her 2 year old son in her house only. I had asked her that why she din’t ask the neighbour only to look after him? But she said, that he’s too small and what if he runs out on the road. There’s so much traffic outside and the neighbours are already looking after one boy. So she told me, “Main uske ek pair ko rassi se baandh ke jaati thi..”(“I used to tie my son with a rope”) She then said that it was easier that way. The rope was long enough to help him move freely within the house. And he din’t understand how to remove the rope. She would go home in between her work and would feed him and check on him. Then, when her elder kids would return from school, they would look after him. This continued till the 4 year old was eligible for school too. Then, the youngest one would be looked after by the neighbour. After a couple of years, when all her kids would be at school, she increased her work and was able to earn more.

She told me, that her husband had come back to her after a few years and was asking for forgiveness. She did forgive him, but did not let him stay with her. He used to stay at some relative’s house.

She worked very hard to educate all her kids and that too all on her own and in a new city. Today, I can see the pride in her eyes when she tells me about her children. The eldest daughter runs a beauty parlour in the town where she stays with her husband and 1 year old son. The second and third son are married too and have kids and are working as executives in some company. The youngest is in college and wants to do MBA. Their socioeconomic status had catapulted from lower to middle class.

I then asked her that why does she work now. She can be at home and enjoy with her grandchildren. Again her answer surprised me. She says that since she has been working since so many years, she doesn’t like to sit at home. It is suffocating for her. She has reduced her work considerably and only works for us as my mother in law had helped her when she was in need. She says till she is fit and fine she will work. And she also says that she doesn’t want to be dependent on her children for her survival!

What an excellent example she has set! Hard work and determination can never fail. You always get results, if not sooner then later..

I had renewed respect for her after I came to know her entire story. And she really deserves a standing ovation! And I really applauded her for her courage and hard work!!

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Author’s note: This post has first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

What all moms have in common

Shruti returned home after a tiring day at work to be greeted by her smiling five year old daughter who animatedly started telling her how she spent her day at school. For just a tiny moment, Shruti felt like telling her to keep quiet, as she had a gruelling day at work and she wanted a moment of peace. But she din’t; and keeping all her worries apart, she participated in the conversation with her kid.

At the same time, in another household, Eva was about to spank her three year old son for his tantrums. She yelled at him, raised her hand, but managed to control herself at the right moment. Just the next second, she was hugging him and apologising for shouting at him.

Later, in the evening on that same day, in some other part of the city, Jyoti had a horrible spat with her teenaged daughter over her behaviour and dressing sense. But, an hour later, they made up and worked side by side in the kitchen to make a meal.

Whether it is Shruti, Eva, Jyoti or you and me; whether you are a working mom, or a stay at home one; whether you are a mother to a newborn, toddler, pre schooler or a teenager; there’s one thing that is common to all mothers in this universe.

It’s the unconditional love that you have for your child.

Even if you are dead tired at the end of the day and you wish for some alone time; but the moment you get a hug or kiss from your child, or you hear their innocent speech, you keep all your problems aside and spend time with them. Even when you get angry or you yell at them or you may even spank them; the next moment you feel bad and you shower all your love over your kid.

It is this unconditional love for our children that takes all mothers to a different level in this world. Nothing can compare to it.

This love for my children has made me realise my true potential. I can do things which at some point in my life I had only dreamt of. Those innocent smiles, those incoherent words, those impromptu hugs and kisses; these are a few things that I would cherish forever, even after they grow up.

I do not know what lies in the future; whether they will even stay with me or no, but the one thing I’m sure of, is that my love for them will last forever.

Dedicated to all mothers who harbour an eternal and unconditional love for their children.


Pic Courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.

Posted in health issues, pregnancy

I’ve suffered and don’t want you to suffer

Simi was very excited to go to work today. Finally, she was going to make that special announcement to her friends and colleagues.

So, during their lunch break, she gathered her friends and said, “I’ve something very exciting to tell you.. I’m expecting..”

Even before she could continue, greetings poured from all sides. “Congrats, take care and All the best” was all that she could hear. Then someone asked her how many months and she said, “Fourth started.”

As the wave of excitement reduced, her closest friend, Mona came to her and said, “I’m so happy for you dear. But I still can’t believe you’ll be a mom soon.”

Simi gave her a hug and they decided to talk about it after work.

Then, later in the coffee shop, Simi said, “Mona, you know I’m so scared about all this. Everybody at home is very excited and happy. But I am kind of lost. I really don’t know what to expect.”

“It’s okay Simi, everything will work out to be fine. Focus on your health,” Mona said.

“Yes, and I’m really going to eat your head every now and then. You are experienced in this matter. Shikha will be two years old now right? ”

“Yes, my little angel will be 2 next month. Times flies so fast.” Mona replied.

Mona continued, “Simi, I know you are very excited about all of this, but let me warn you. Pregnancy is not always a bed of roses, there are so many changes in your body that you can’t even imagine it. You really need to take care. Everyone will tell you about all the nice things, some will also tell you about the labour pains, others will tell you about normal vs caesarean delivery, but no one will tell you about the other problems that pregnant ladies suffer from. Since you are my closest friend, I think it’s your right to know.”

Simi asked,”So what is it..?”

Mona was a bit reluctant, “Hmm.. its kind of embarrassing..”

“Just spill it already.” Simi said.

Mona replied, “I had suffered from hemorrhoids in my pregnancy.”

“You mean piles?” Simi answered.

Mona said, “Yes. Piles. Hemorrhoids. It’s the same thing. You know, more than half of the pregnant women suffer from it during their second and third trimesters. I was kind of shocked when I came to know about it. Then, I read about it and I also asked my doctor. Do you know what exactly are hemorrhoids, Simi?

Simi replied in the negative.

Mona continued, “They are veins in the lower part of the intestine called rectum and these veins become dilated, swollen and inflamed because of the pressure of the growing baby in the uterus and also due to the increased blood volume in the pregnant body. And they form hemorrhoids or piles as they are commonly called. And if you are already constipated, it adds to the problem.”

Simi asked, “Mona, but how did you come to know about it? I mean did you have any symptoms?”

Mona said, “Yes. I used to feel itching and sometimes burning sensation near the anus. I also felt a soft lump near the anal opening. It was really uncomfortable. Also sometimes, I would see blood in the stools.”

“Oh my God! That sounds gross!” Simi exclaimed.

Mona started laughing and said, ” Yes, it does but you can avoid it. I’ll tell you how:

1. Stay regular in your schedule.

2. Have a high fibre diet like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid processed foods.

3. Drink lots of water.

4. Do Kegels exercises. They will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and also they improve the blood circulation in the pelvic area.

5. Do not stand for prolonged periods, keep moving. Your blood volume increases during pregnancy, so if you stand continously, the blood gets accumulated in the pelvic area and adds to the problem. So keep moving.

6. Walk regularly.

7. Do not strain unnecessarily in the toilet.

8. If you have constipation, then ask your doctor. They will give you some stool softeners.

9. If it gets really uncomfortable, your doctor will advise you warm baths or Sitz baths.

Remember, that hemorrhoids in pregnancy are temporary. They will go away a few months after you have delivered. So don’t worry, but I told you so that you can be aware about it and take the necessary precautions. And even if you get them, they are very much treatable. You just need to reach out to your doctor.”

Simi hugged Mona and said,”Thank you so much dear. I don’t know what would I do without you.”

Mona said, “I’ve suffered from it and I don’t want you to suffer. Take care..”

Hemorrhoids are a common problem in pregnancy. Very few are actually aware about it. The aim of this blog is to spread awareness about hemorrhoids in pregnancy and help prevent it; as it is rightly said, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’


Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.