Infant GERD and Acid Reflux in Babies

Even asthma can signal laryngopharyngeal reflux, which is reported by about 15 percent to 20 percent of patients with GERD. It occurs when gastric contents flow to the upper digestive tract. Some studies suggest that as much as 80 percent of asthma may be caused by acid reflux. Visit our Acid Reflux / GERD category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Acid Reflux / GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition in which the stomach’s contents often come back up into the food pipe.

Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, they will occasionally suffer from diarrhea, upset tummy, excessive burping, abdominal pain, or heartburn. Sometimes stress from a big event in a child’s life – such as the first day of school, exams, or a sporting event – triggers a digestive upset.

They were a game changer in the adult population, where GERD and heartburn are much more easily diagnosed. Many infants are placed on older histamine type 2 receptor blockers, which decrease acid production but don’t stop it.

Infants and young children may lose so many calories by expulsion that growth is compromised. Some infants or children with GERD may even become averse to feeding due to repeated associations with feeding and pain. Finally, there are a number of short and long term consequences of GERD that are not associated with infants and children with GER. Earlier, anti-acid medication was the first step in treatment to relieve the symptoms of acidic indigestion, heartburn and reflux.

I am three weeks out from hiatal hernia repair. I did not have any of the normal symptoms, but had serious breathing problems. The first doctor who did an endoscopy said I had a 7 cm hiatal hernia (HH), but that it was not the cause of my breathing problems. My cardiologist said my heart was fine as did the pulmonary doctor say that my lungs were fine.

In such cases asthma medicine does not help. The thick frothy phlegm can be difficult to swallow and in some cases can cause pain behind the ears; a consequence of the repeated attempts to swallow. This is the reason for the symptoms of the feeling of a lump-, or blockage feeling, pain in the esophagus, a cramping feeling when swallowing and food becoming stuck in the bend in the esophagus and sometimes being vomited up. Because the upper esophagus mouth does not open correctly there is also a risk that food will become stuck there and then slip into the air pathways. Food becomes stuck in your throat, you will cough, and may have other air pathway problems too.

Infants with gastroesophogeal reflux reflect the immaturity their nervous system. In most infants the junction between the esophagus and stomach is “closed,” opening only to allow passage of formula or breast milk into the stomach or to allow the escape of swallowed air via burping. GERD is the back up of stomach acid into the esophagus. Gastroesophogeal reflux is different from vomiting because usually it is not associated with a violent ejection. Moreover, GER is generally a singular event in time, whereas the vomiting process is commonly several back-to-back events that may ultimately completely empty all stomach contents and yet still persist (“dry heaves”).

When to see a doctor

This can tell us when reflux happens and if it is acidic, but in infants this information doesn’t mean much because apparent symptoms often don’t correlate well with measured reflux events because they usually aren’t caused by the reflux. But this type of investigation can be helpful when a child has the sudden onset of severe symptoms to see if they really do occur at the same time as reflux, although there is still the possibility of a coincidence. The vast majority of episodes of reflux are very brief, and even if there is a significant acid component it is quickly cleared by the esophagus. And a layer of mucous is typically present which protects the esophageal lining from any injury. These normal protective mechanisms can be overwhelmed, particularly in children with neurological and anatomical risk factors, but significant symptoms related to reflux can occur, although uncommonly, even in otherwise-healthy babies leading to a diagnosis of GERD.

Nasal congestion can also be a symptom of infant GERD. Though experts aren’t sure exactly why the two are linked, stomach acids could reach the back of the nasal cavity in babies with GERD, causing inflammation (and therefore stuffiness) of the sinuses. Prop baby upright. If possible, try to feed baby upright and prop her up for one to two hours afterward.

Rarely is direct and clear evidence of esophageal injury found in an infant, but in some cases a tentative diagnosis of GERD is warranted and a trial of acid-reducing medications indicated. In nearly all cases of reflux in infants, and even with suspected GERD, conservative measures are indicated and should be attempted prior to starting medications.

In some cases, medications may be indicated. GER and GERD in infants and children are diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam by the child’s pediatrician. Infants with GER are thriving children and do not have recurrent agitation or forceful ejection of breast milk/formula.

Heartburn symptoms may mimic chest pain that occurs during a heart attack. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may produce other symptoms. True GERD can present in a variety of ways depending on the age of the child, but is notoriously difficult to diagnose with any real certainty in a baby. An infant, for instance, doesn’t have the capacity to describe their heartburn.

Acid reflux can cause persistent nasal congestion in infants in several ways. This is important to watch out for because infants have small nasal passages that are easily obstructed, and anything that diminishes nasal clearance can cause considerable distress. Congestion is particularly troublesome for infants from the ages of 1 to 3 months old because they breathe only through their noses. Acidic gastric fluids congest the nose and airways by causing swelling, edema or inflammation, allowing mucus or gastric contents to become trapped in the nasal passages. In some cases regurgitated material can even be seen passing out through the nose, but this is not common.

An occasional episode of heartburn is normal, but if you’re experiencing heartburn several times a week, you’ll need to see a doctor. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

Physicians believe that the esophagus may be better able to resist the effects of stomach fluids (acid and enzymes) than the voice box. Interrupted daily activities.

bloated stomach acid reflux causes congestion in infants

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