Indigestion is a common ailment in children today and is caused by direct errors. It a condition of the stomach in which digestive juices are incorrectly secreted, resulting in discomfort.
The only effective home treatment for indigestion in children is a thorough cleansing of the digestive tract, and adoption of sensible diet thereafter. The best way to begin the treatment is to put the child on raw juices for a day or two. He may be given orange juice mixed with hot water on 50 : 50 basis during this period. If orange juice does not agree, carrot juice, mixed with water, may be given. If possible, the bowels should be cleansed once daily with a small warm-water enema. In the alternative, a glycerine suppository may be applied for this purpose. If this is done, the symptoms will soon disappear.
The child should then be placed on an all-fruit diet for a further day or two. With regards to this, he should be given juicy fruits such as apple, pineapple, pear,peach, orange and papaya. This may be followed by a restricted diet of easily digestible foods, consisting of lightly -cooked vegetable, juice fruits and buttermilk for two days or so and thereafter, he may be allowed to embark upon a well-balanced diet suited to his age.
The use of fruits in general is beneficial in the treatment of indigestion. They flush out undigested food residue and accumulated faeces and re-establish health. Being rich in water, they clean body mechanisms thoroughly. The best fruit for treating indigestion is the lemon. Its juice reaches the stomach and attacks the bacteria, inhibiting the formation of acids. Lemon juice removes indigestion by disloding this acid and other harmful substances from the stomach, thereby strengthening and promoting healthy appetite.
The orange is another effective remedy for chronic indigestion. It supplies nutrition in a most easily assimilable form. It also stimulates the flow of digestive juices, thereby improving digestion and increasing appetite. It creates suitable conditions for the development of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
Grapefruit is also useful for indigestion. It is a light food which acts immediately on indigestion and relieves heat and stomach irritation. Pineapple is also valuable. It acts as a tonic for indigestion and relieves digestive disorders.
The child suffering from indigestion should be encouraged to follow the under-mentioned rules regarding eating :
Water should not be taken with meals, but half an hour before or one hour after a meal.
Never hurry through a meal. Eat very slowly and chew the food as thoroughly as possible.
Never eat to a full stomach.
Do not eat if appetite is lacking.
Do not mix too many foods in the same meal.
Hydrotherapy can also be used beneficially in the treatment of indigestion. Useful measures in this direction include wet girdle pack applied at night, application of ice bag over the stomach half an hour before meals and a hot water bag over the stomach half an hour after meals, a daily cold friction bath and alternate hot and cold hip baths at night.
Light exercises such as walking, bicycling and swimming also help digestion.