Seven Costs of Care for a Child With Severe Acid Reflux

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Most children with severe acid reflux live at home and are cared for by their family. The costs of care can be both direct and indirect. The annual costs of caring for a child with severe acid reflux can dramatically change a family’s budget. Here are some of the potential costs to help you plan financially.

Mother giving child medicine


Common drugs for acid reflux treatment include antacids, H-2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Researchers estimate that PPIs alone can cost about $500 a year. Children with severe reflux are often on several medications at once.

Cute Little Boy at the Doctors

Doctor visits and surgery

Until reflux symptoms are well managed, doctor visits can be numerous. General practitioners, gastroenterologists, and other specialty doctors may be needed. Surgical options for acid reflux include laparoscopic or open Nissen fundoplication. Surgery is usually necessary only if the child is not responding to medication.

Feeding baby formula from bottle

Special foods

When determining the cause of acid reflux symptoms in a child, sometimes a special diet is required. For babies, this can include specialized formula that can be more expensive than regular baby formula. For older children, a gluten-free or dairy-free diet may be recommended to rule out food intolerances.

Father on laptop with daughter

Lost work time

Losing work time is known as one of the indirect costs of care. If your child is too sick for a babysitter or school, this may mean more time away from work compared with having a healthy child that may need less care. Frequent doctor visits may also require additional time off from work.

Man stressed while working in an office

Lost opportunity costs

While rarely considered, having a child with a severe illness can impact your finances indirectly as a result of lost opportunities in the workplace. For example, it may be difficult to take a job that pays more but requires more travel or longer hours if your child is ill.

Mother overwhelmed

Emotional and social strain

If you are caring for a child with severe acid reflux disease, you may already know what a toll caregiving can take on your emotions and social life. Costs of taking care of your own health can increase as a result.

Little girl waking up parents at night

Physical strain

Children with acid reflux are often poor sleepers and can require caregivers to get up frequently throughout the night. Smaller, more frequent meals may also be necessary. Compared with caring for a child without severe acid reflux, the physical requirements of caring for a child with acid reflux can be much greater. Taking the physical care needed of the caregiver can add to the financial costs of care.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.