Gastroesophageal Reflux In Infants

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Overview

Gastroesophageal reflex disease, also commonly known as GERD, is an instance in which either food or acid can build up from the stomach and into the esophagus. While this is an issue that is commonly seen in adults, it’s also one that can occur in infants, which can cause them to spit up. However, the good thing is that infants typically outgrow this issue during the first year of their life. On the other hand, if they still appear to have issues beyond this time, it’s likely that they have issues related to GERD. The sooner the infant is treated for this issue, the better their overall health will be in the long run.

Gastroesophageal reflex disease, also commonly known as GERD, is an instance in which either food or acid can build up from the stomach and into the esophagus.

Gastroesophageal reflex disease, also commonly known as GERD, is an instance in which either food or acid can build up from the stomach and into the esophagus.

What Causes GERD?

As previously stated, GERD causes food and/or acid to build up from the stomach into the esophagus. Despite this, there seems to be no real explanation as to why this occurs. While there has been rumored to be a genetic link, no credible proof regarding this has been provided as of yet.

The valve located at the top of the stomach is designed to close in order to keep acid contained in the stomach. When this fails to happen, both food and acid can build up into the esophagus. There are many reasons why the valve may not close, which can include the following:

*Nerve issues that can interfere with the opening and closing of the valve
*Pressure increase in the stomach due to overeating
*Muscle and valve irritation in the stomach
*Other issues with the valve itself

GERD Risk Factors

There are several different risk factors that can increase the chances of an infant developing GERD. These can include the following:

*Premature birth
*Down syndrome
*Head injury
*Hiatal hernia
*Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
*Various neurological impairments
*Formula allergies
*Exposure to tobacco smoke
*Medications
*An esophagus that is either short or narrow in size
*Family history of GERD

Symptoms

There are many symptoms that an infant may have that could signify that they have GERD that you should keep an eye out for. These include the following:

*Spitting up/vomiting
*Not eating
*Not gaining weight
*Blood in vomit
*Moving a lot after eating
*Being irritable while eating
*Difficulty swallowing
*Coughing/wheezing
*Hoarseness
*Frequent respiratory issues
*Apnea/blue skin
*Excessive crying
*Restlessness

How to Treat and Prevent GERD

To help both treat and prevent GERD in an infant, it’s important that you consult with a pediatrician as soon as possible regarding exactly what steps you need to take. This may mean taking steps that include the following:

*Changing your infant’s diet
*Making sure that your infant stays away from any secondhand smoke
*Making note of what all your infant eats, as well as all of their symptoms

 

Related Video On Gastroesophageal Reflux In Infants

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  • All cprlevelc.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.