How To Tell If Your Baby Has Acid Reflux

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Baby Has Acid RefluxNew parents tend to worry about their infants and signs of distress send them to the pediatrician.

If you suspect that your newborn suffers from acid reflux, you may be right.

The number of new cases has been increasing every year and when left untreated this disorder can cause a whole host of problems.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is frequently confused with heartburn. They are closely related. Acid reflux is the action of regurgitating stomach acids into the esophagus. Heartburn is the stinging sensation that occurs afterwards.

A Norwegian study released in 2011 found that it is a rapidly increasing problem. Rates of acid reflux problems have soared with a 50 percent increase just since the turn of the millennium.

When the condition is persistent it can develop into Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which causes considerable scarring of the esophagus that makes eating painful and creates the conditions for future cases of throat cancer. It is vital to correct the problem sooner rather than later.

The stomach has a special lining to protect itself from the strong acids contained within the gastric juice. However, the esophagus doesn’t have this lining and when acids are frequently regurgitated, the esophagus becomes scarred and swallowing actually becomes painful.

The valve between the esophagus and the stomach may be malformed which also drives the frequency of occurrence of this painful condition.

Causes Of Acid Reflux In Small Children

Small ChildrenAlthough it is common for most infants to spit up after a meal, more frequent vomiting than average and an inability to gain weight may be caused by GERD.

Infants have poorly coordinated gastrointestinal tracts which require time to acclimate to formulas and breast milk delivered by mouth.

The immature digestive tract normally resolves on its own and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, when it doesn’t parents need to be on the lookout for danger signs.

When an infant is continuously unable to keep food down, they may have an underlying problem within their nervous system, brain, or muscles that prevent them from fully coordinating their digestive patterns.

In many cases, they will be healthy in all other respects. If the problem occurs for a long period of time, their esophagus may become scarred and they will experience difficulty during feeding.

Birth defects can also be a cause of acid reflux in children. When the valve between the stomach and esophagus does not develop properly, an infant will continually experience the symptoms of acid reflux.

Children who received major thoracic surgery shortly after birth frequently have persistent problems with GERD because the anatomy may be out of place within the abdomen.

Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux In Infants And Children

Symptoms Of Acid RefluxIf you are asking yourself if your baby has acid reflux, you should track the frequency and severity of symptoms.

Bring your list with you to your baby’s check up and discuss these symptoms with your child’s pediatrician. The earlier you act, the less long-term damage your child will suffer.

The most common sign of acid reflux in your child is frequent or recurrently vomiting. It frequently presents as projectile vomiting and is impossible for your baby to control.

A persistent cough or wheezing is another sign of trouble. Vomit may travel into the lungs and cause significant damage. Children who experience this are frequently diagnosed with asthma.

Children who refuse to eat or who gag during feedings may do so because they suffer from more advanced symptoms of acid reflux. When the lining of the esophagus is damaged by repeated exposure to stomach acids, it is painful to eat and swallow.

They may behave colicky and have abdominal pain due to excessive build up of gas. When there is a clear pattern of fussiness during mealtimes, you should definitely explore the possibility of acid reflux with your doctor.

Acid Reflux Treatment

In most cases, infants will outgrow acid reflux as their gastrointestinal tract matures. If symptoms don’t decrease, then a variety of studies can be done to determine the extent of the problem.

Acid RefluxThese include a barium upper GI probe, a stomach content emptying study, and an upper GI endoscopy. Once a determination is made, treatment can begin.

Infants with acid reflux should be fed small meals at frequent intervals to reduce occurrences. After a feeding, they should be held in an upright position for a minimum of 30 minutes.

The head of the bed should be elevated in the crib or bassinet to reduce the chance of an episode while the baby is sleeping.

Proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid and antacids are frequently prescribed. If the condition cannot be controlled with drugs, the Nissen fundoplication surgery may be necessary.

This helps to eliminate the passage of fluids from the stomach into the esophagus but is generally a last resort.

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