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All About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease—Infant

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Overview

When a person has an issue of food or acid building up from the stomach into the esophagus, this is called Gastroesophageal reflux or GER for short. This is very common in babies, and causes them to spit up. The good news is that babies tend to outgrow this within their first year of life. If after this time, the baby still has symptoms and damage this points to Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This causes pain and swelling in the esophagus. The sooner that this can be treated, the better the baby will be in the long term.

Causes of GERD

When a person has an issue of food or acid building up from the stomach into the esophagus, this is called Gastroesophageal reflux or GER for short.

When a person has an issue of food or acid building up from the stomach into the esophagus, this is called Gastroesophageal reflux or GER for short.

This is caused when the acid or food continues to back up from the stomach into the esophagus. However, there is not real reason why this is happening. There may be some genetic link to this happening, however, this has not been one hundred percent proven.

The valve at the top of the stomach is meant to close to keep the acid in the stomach. However, when this does not happen, the food and acid can come up into the esophagus. The valve may not close due to:

  • Nerve issues may be present that are interfering with the valve closing or opening
  • Having an increase in the pressure in the stomach due to overeating
  • Irritation of the valve and the muscles in the stomach
  • The valve itself may have an issue

The Risk Factors for GERD

There are several factors that increase the chances of a baby having GERD. These risk factors are:

  • Down syndrome
  • Premature birth
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Head injury
  • Neurological impairments
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Allergy to the formula being used
  • Medications
  • Tobacco smoke exposure
  • Short or narrow esophagus
  • A family history of GERD

Symptoms of GERD

This is very common, however, there are several symptoms that a baby may have. These symptoms include:

  • Spitting up or vomiting
  • No weight gain
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Fussy or irritable during feeding
  • Making lots of movement after or during feeding
  • Bloody vomit
  • Hard time swallowing
  • Respiratory problems that are rather frequent
  • Blue skin or apnea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Sleep that is not restful
  • Excessive crying

Treating this Issue

In order to prevent and treat this, you will need to talk with your doctor about what you need to do to help the baby. Treating and preventing this issue may mean:

  • Changing the diet of the baby
  • Keeping the baby away from second-hand smoke
  • Keeping a diary of what is being eaten and symptoms the baby has

 Related Video On GERD

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