Over time, babies with reflux may not gain weight as expected (failure to thrive) and may have frequent chest infections due to aspirating (breathing in) stomach contents into the windpipe and lungs. The inside surface of the oesophagus may become inflamed due to contact with stomach acid, which may lead to scarring and narrowing. Surgery. In severe cases of reflux, surgery called fundoplication may be done.
GERD occurs when contents in the stomach (usually the stomach acid and formula) moves backwards into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disease that involves the esophagus and stomach. Treatment for children with GERD can include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and surgery for severe cases. Without getting too technical, spit-up (also called reflux, gastroesophageal reflux, or GER) is the movement of stomach contents into the esophagus, and sometimes through the mouth and nose. When reflux is associated with other symptoms, or if it persists beyond infancy, it is considered a disease and is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Physical causes can include weak or abnormal muscles at the lower end of the esophagus where it meets the stomach, normally acting as a barrier for stomach contents re-entering the esophagus. Other physical causes include hiatal hernia, abnormal esophageal spasms, and slow stomach emptying. Changes like pregnancy and choices we all make daily can cause reflux as well. These choices include eating foods like chocolate, citrus, fatty foods, spicy foods or habits like overeating, eating late, lying down right after eating, and alcohol/tobacco use (see below). Acid reflux occurs when acidic stomach contents flow back into the esophagus, the swallowing tube that leads from the back of the throat to the stomach.
These can include heart disease or being born premature. These babies may not be able to eat much before getting sleepy. Other babies canâ€™t keep a normal amount of formula or breastmilk in their stomachs without vomiting. These babies may do better if they eat a small amount of food continuously. Your baby may need reflux medicine.
The typical adult symptoms (eg, heartburn, vomiting, regurgitation) cannot be readily assessed in infants and children. Our daughter had severe acid reflux (not spitting up but bile you could smell and obviously caused her extreme pain) and she cried all day and night for eight months until we learned more about the chemicals that go into our food (research BT toxin corn). We put her on organic whole milk instead of the formula (yes we tried several â€œsensitive stomachâ€ formulas) and it disappeared. When we were broke and bought the regular stuff it came right back again. I poured that junk down the sink and weâ€™ve never looked back.
Preventing Infant Acid Reflux or GERD
It closes to keep food in the stomach. When the LES relaxes too often or for too long, stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This causes vomiting or heartburn.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
A consultation with a pediatric GI specialist (gastroenterologist) may be necessary. Gastroesophageal reflux has been associated with significant respiratory symptoms in infants and children. The infant’s proximal airway and esophagus are lined with receptors that are activated by water, acid, or distention.
This sequence occurs in all people, but it happens more frequently in infants under the age of 1 year. There is a muscle at the lower end of the food pipe called the lower esophageal sphincter. This muscle relaxes to let food into the stomach and contracts to stop food and acid passing back up into the food pipe.
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If your baby is otherwise well but has reflux and you are concerned, see your GP, paediatrician or Maternal and Child Health Nurse. If your baby has reflux, they may start to vomit milk, especially after feeds. Most babies with reflux are otherwise well, and show no signs of discomfort or distress.
Emily Parks, a Halifax mom, knows this first-hand. Initially, she and her husband thought they simply had a high-needs baby who cried a lot and never wanted to be set down. But Parks soon began to suspect something else was going on. â€œI noticed he was making a lot of choking and gagging noises immediately after feeding,â€ she says. â€œAnd his screaming seemed to indicate really acute pain.â€ Parksâ€™ experience is a classic case of silent reflux, says Catherine Pound, a paediatrician at the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.