Is My Baby Really Suffering From Acid Reflux?

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heartburnIf you have ever had an experience where you believed that you were having a heart attack, primarily the result of excruciating pain in the chest area, you may have gone to the doctor fully expecting to receive a report that you had some type of a stroke, or that you may be developing a higher potential for cardiac arrest.

Fortunately for most of us, that is not the case, and what we have is far less life-threatening. Although the pain can be perceived as being very similar, heartburn or acid reflux is very treatable in most cases. This article will address what acid reflex actually is, and whether or not your baby could actually be suffering from this same condition, something that is almost always attribute it to adults today.

Understanding Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition that has many other names. Also referred to as GERD, or heartburn, the development of this condition is almost always the same. There is an overabundance of gastric acid, which is technically called HCl, and is naturally produced in the body.

intestineIt is what is responsible for the digestion process within the stomach, breaking down all of the food so that it can be absorbed and processed through the small intestines, with the waste going through to the large intestines and out the rectum.

Some types of foods will actually create more acid in the stomach, causing the reflux to occur. But there are many other reasons that this condition can happen, a few of which we will now discuss.

Causes Of Acid Reflux

When you have too much acid in your stomach, it can act a bit like a volcano. It needs to go somewhere, and the first exit out of the stomach is upwards through what is called the esophagus. Blocking the acid from going up into the esophagus, sometimes all the way up into the throat, is a valve which is called the lower esophageal sphincter. This prevents stomach acid from going up, because when it does, it can cause excruciating pain.

heartburnThis is what most people feel when they are having heartburn, and heartburn is a descriptor, a reference of where the pain is adjacent to the proximity of the heart within your body.

This is where most people feel the burning sensation caused by the acid moving up into your esophagus, which is what acid reflux can cause. Another reason that you may have GERD is that you have an abnormality in your stomach that is caused by, in many cases, an abnormality called a hiatal hernia.

When this happens, the upper part of your stomach moves itself above the diaphragm, which is a muscle that is in between your chest and your stomach, causing you to feel the sensation of pain there. Either way, you need to get control of acid reflux, and here is the easiest way that this can be done.

How To Avoid Heartburn From Occurring

One of the easiest ways that you can experience acid reflux is to eat a very heavy meal. This could be a meal full of your favorite holiday foods including a meal with red meat, gravy, potatoes, or anything that is extremely hard to digest. The harder that your stomach has to work, the more gastric acid it will need.

esophagus  The more gastric acid that is required, the higher the probability that it will move up past the lower esophageal sphincter and into your esophagus.

Other things that can cause this problem include carbonated beverages such as sodas, alcoholic beverages like beer or even wine, as well as drinking too much coffee or tea.

The positioning of your body can also play a role including bending over after eating a large meal, snacking right before you go to bed, and taking ibuprofen or any other type of muscle relaxers which can also lead to the development of ulcers.

People that smoke, that are pregnant, or those that have meals that are heavy in spicy foods like garlic, onions, or even chocoholics can find themselves having heartburn more times than not, which means they need to find a natural or prescription remedy to get this under control.

Treatments For GERD

A worst-case scenario is that you have a hiatal hernia which needs to be repaired by a physician. You could also have something wrong with your LES which again would require some type of operation. Most people can get this under control by changing their diet, and also taking certain natural and pharmaceutical supplements that can help remedy the condition.

Calcium The most common treatment is to use calcium carbonate, something that is found in TUMS or Rolaids that you can get at your local store, or you can get something much more potent from your doctor.

Either way, these treatments will help reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, helping to prevent acid reflux and heartburn from occurring.

Can A Baby Have Acid Reflux?

There are many symptoms associated with babies that have acid reflux, some of which include recurrent vomiting, a persistent cough, crying after feeding, abdominal pain, gas, and choking or gagging while they are being fed. This is because of the extra amount of acid moving up into the esophagus as a result of what is going on in their stomach.

Other possible problems may include recurrent pneumonia, an inability to grow properly, or a persistent development of colic. In the same way that adults are diagnosed with this condition, the pediatrician may order certain tests including a pH probe, and upper barium swallow, or an upper G.I. endoscopy.

heart brunOnce done, and it is determined that they are experiencing heartburn, the best way to prevent infants from having this occur is to hold your baby upright for a minimum of a half an hour after they have been fed.

You should also keep their head elevated when placed back in their bassinet after a feeding. Altering feeding schedules can work, and if they are old enough, the use of cereal or even solid food may be recommended by your doctor in order to prevent the excess amounts of acid from occurring within their stomach.

By using these recommendations, and getting a proper diagnosis from your local pediatrician, you will be able to determine if your child is experiencing acid reflux, and take the proper steps in order to remedy the situation.

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