Acid reflux in infants also called Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) usually occur when some food come up to the esophagus (the tube which takes food to the stomach from mouth) due to trouble in stomach muscle. This reflux is a common disease of infants. According to different studies, around 25 percent of infant experience some degrees of it. People generally call infant reflux, in this condition most of the children spit up within a short period of time after feeding. It becomes less with the growth of the baby, but older children also can suffer from acid reflux.
In some cases (small number) the acid reflux in infants can lead to serious problems in future. Such as, allergy or blockage.
Symptoms of acid reflux in infants
In most of the cases the common symptoms of acid reflux are
- Vomiting frequently or recurrently.
- Spitting up most of the time.
If your baby is healthy and taking food regularly then it is not a matter of concern. If your baby refuges to eat, frequently cry and act fussy or uncomfortable then it is very much likely that there is discomfort in his/her stomach and the stomach acid is enough to irritate throat and esophagus. if you see the following signs then you should go to a doctor and start diagnosis for acid reflux.
- He/ She refuses to eat
- Not gaining weight
- Has difficulty breathing
- Blood is seen with stool
- Spits up fluid of green or yellow color
- Spits up blood or a material looks like coffee grounds
Some of the signs may leads to more serious conditions like Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or pyloric stenosis. In GERD the stomach content comes up and the stomach acid. The stomach acid damage the lining of the esophagus. Pyloric stasis is narrow the opening from the stomach to the small intestine due to enlargement of the muscle surrounding this opening.
Causes of acid reflux in infants
According to the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse, an immature digestive system is blamable for the disease. Although, the exact cause of acid reflux in infants is unknown. There are some common facts that are treated as the causes:
- Immature Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES): The lower esophageal sphincter is a ring that situated at the bottom of the esophagus. It open to take food in the stomach and close after taking food to contain the food into the stomach. In infant this muscle is immature and can be left open after taking the food. As a result the child can vomit.
- Narrow or sort Esophagus: The esophagus of the children are smaller than a mature man. So the food got small distance to travel. As a result the refluxed content irritate the esophagus lining.
- Diet: Acid reflux may be happen depending on the food. For example, citrus fruits and tomato increase the amount of acid production in the stomach. It can be a cause of reflux depending on children age. Some certain synthetic or artificial food like chocolate, pepper mint and high fat foods can keep the lower esophageal sphincter open for a longer time. Changing the food habit can reduce the acid reflux in infants. According to most of the pediatrician if mother is breast feeding, she needs to change her diet to get rid of the problem for her kid.
- Gastroparesis (Delayed Emptying of the Stomach): Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder. In this case the stomach took too long to empty. If the stomach muscle don’t work properly it indicate to the damage of vagus nerve, the stomach fails to contract to the small intestine. Usually the stomach contract to small intestine to digest food. For this reason the food remain undigested too longer than it should be and cause reflux increase.
- Over feeding: Over eating certainly increase the level of acid in stomach. Giving to much food to your baby while feeding even when breast feeding can put too much pressure in his/her LES. Feeding your child too frequently can also increase the level of reflux acid
- Positioning: The positing is also an important factor especially before and after feeding. Positioning is frequently ignored, as a result the level of reflux increase. This also applicable for sleeping.
So we can understand it is not easy to determine the exact causes of acid reflux in infants. Especially, the children cannot speak up about their problems or discomfort. Some home remedies like changing of food habit and lifestyle change can minimize the risk of acid reflux in infants. If home remedies does not work is is necessary to do proper treatment of acid reflux in infants.