Study investigates CONCERNING link between frequently-prescribed medication and serious infections in children

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common-medication(NaturalHealth365)  Each passing year brings increasingly concerning information about PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medications.  According to Western medicine, proton pump inhibitors have long been considered a “safe” option for managing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), even on a daily basis.  However, recent studies conducted within the last five years cast doubt on the safety of prolonged PPI use.

In addition to a strong link between kidney disease and PPI usage, a new study suggests that using PPIs in children is directly associated with an increased risk of infections.  While the impact of GERD should not be underestimated, the extended use of PPIs for its treatment is becoming increasingly recognized as problematic.  Let’s delve into this study to understand what it means for the management of heartburn and the medications used to address this condition.

When little ones suffer: The  challenge of childhood heartburn

Many children deal with chronic heartburn for a variety of reasons:

  • Poor diet
  • Underdeveloped lower esophageal sphincter
  • Obesity
  • Structural defects

While the causes of reflux in children are diverse, the discomfort is universal.  Just imagine not being able to express that your throat is burning due to stomach acid; it’s a distressing thought.  Due to this concern and the perceived safety of PPI medications, some physicians have prescribed them for pediatric patients.

Pediatric PPIs: New study makes the infection connection

This particular study was designed to analyze nationwide data concerning French children undergoing treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) using PPIs, antihistamine antagonists, or antacids.  The participants in this study were born between 2010 and 2018, and their health status was monitored until they were either admitted to the hospital for a severe infection, experienced death, lost contact with the researchers, or reached December 31, 2019.

Throughout this monitoring period, the study tracked the patients’ treatment for GERD, the frequency of treatment (whether medication or antacids), and any documented infections.  The study’s findings revealed a direct and statistically significant connection between PPI usage and an increased risk of severe infections among this pediatric group.

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It’s crucial to emphasize that PPI use was associated not only with kidney or stomach infections but also with infections affecting various parts of the body.  Concerning areas included the lower respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and stomach.

The researchers have put forth an intriguing hypothesis.  They suggest that prolonged use of PPIs could potentially upset the delicate balance of gut microbiota, which typically plays a pivotal role in regulating the immune system.  Such disruption could potentially weaken the immune system’s defenses, leaving it more susceptible to serious infections.  This perspective is rather compelling because it highlights the often underestimated significance of the relationship between gut flora and the immune system.

Clearly, the safety of PPI usage is becoming less certain than previously believed.  When it comes to long-term usage, it is increasingly linked to negative health outcomes.  This study adds to the growing body of evidence raising concerns about the safety of prolonged PPI use.

How to deal with childhood GERD naturally

Dealing with childhood GERD naturally can be a proactive and often effective approach.  While it’s essential to consult with a pediatrician before making any significant changes to your child’s treatment plan, here are some valuable strategies for managing childhood GERD naturally:

  1. Dietary modifications:  Adjust your child’s diet by avoiding trigger foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spicy dishes.  Emphasize a balanced diet with organic fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  2. Smaller, frequent meals:  Opt for smaller, more frequent meals to reduce pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and minimize reflux episodes.  Another tip is to chew your food, very well.
  3. Elevate the head of the bed:  If nighttime reflux is an issue, raise the head of your child’s bed slightly to prevent stomach acid from flowing into the esophagus.
  4. Limit liquid intake with meals:  Encourage your child to consume most fluids between meals rather than during them to minimize stomach pressure.
  5. Healthy weight management:  If your child is overweight, work with a healthcare provider and/or health coach to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, which can help alleviate GERD symptoms.

Always prioritize open communication with your child’s holistic healthcare provider to ensure a well-rounded approach to managing childhood GERD.  Natural methods can be a valuable complement to medical treatments and lifestyle adjustments, ultimately promoting better digestive health for your child.

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