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Gerd in Infants

So you’ve been noticing that your new baby seems to be spitting up frequently. When you take him to the doctor, you discover that your baby has acid reflux. Knowing something is wrong with your bundle of joy can be a scary and very frightening experience. However, with the proper knowledge, acid reflux in infants can be managed.

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux stands for gastroesphegeal reflux disease. This is commonly referred to as GERD. Usually, to be diagnosed with GERD, an infant or young child has to have a combination of symptoms. It is also very normal for babies to spit up occasionally.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

Symptoms of GERD can include: vomiting frequently, abdominal and gas pains, and refusing to eat without crying, choking or gagging.

GERD is a less common disorder in young children, especially infants who are breast fed.

What causes a child to develop GERD?

Essentially, for multiple reasons, the stomach contents get pushed up into the esophagus and occasionally, the mouth. Infants have immature digestive tracks, and so, if an infant has GERD, they will usually outgrow it when they become a toddler.

How is GERD diagnosed in young children?

The doctors will listen to parents concerns. They also assess and examine the baby. Sometimes further testing is required. There are several tests the doctor may order. A barium x-ray may be ordered. This involves the baby ingesting a solution that will make the intestines more visible on x-ray. Depending on those results, anupper GI endoscopy may be ordered. This involves a thin tube inserted down the esophagus. Now, it may sound painful, but the throat is numbed, so the procedure really is quick and painless. If those two tests are inconclusive, a test maybe ordered to determine how fast the stomach is emptying.

How is GERD treated?

There are really several ways that acid reflux can be treated. Rarely, surgery may be needed. Usually, through changing simple things involving a child’s feeding will make all the difference. When possible, try elevating the head of a baby’s bed or bassinet. Do not usepillows, however, as they pose a suffocation risk.

Check with your doctor whether you can thicken your child’s bottle with cereal or even begin to introduce solid foods. Gas drops may also help ease discomfort. The important thing is to be patient and continue to check in with your doctor.