Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Infants and Children

Over time, babies with reflux may not gain weight as expected (failure to thrive) and may have frequent chest infections due to aspirating (breathing in) stomach contents into the windpipe and lungs. The inside surface of the oesophagus may become inflamed due to contact with stomach acid, which may lead to scarring and narrowing. Emily Parks, a Halifax mom, knows this first-hand.

Reflux is less common in breastfed babies. In addition, breastfed babies with reflux have been shown to have shorter and fewer reflux episodes and less severe reflux at night than formula-fed babies [Heacock 1992].

Is reflux just vomiting?

Some people with GERD have a slow emptying of the stomach that may be contributing to the reflux of acid. During this test, your child drinks milk or eats food mixed with a radioactive chemical. This chemical is followed through the gastrointestinal tract using a special camera.

These ulcers can become painful and also may bleed, leading to anemia (too few red blood cells in the bloodstream). Esophageal narrowing (stricture) and Barrett’s esophagus (abnormal cells in the esophageal lining) are long-term complications from inflammation that typically occur in adults.

Switch formulas. If your baby is formula-feeding, ask your doctor if you should switch to a different kind.

In the study, researchers surveyed parents coming into a pediatric clinic in Michigan about how they would respond to a hypothetical clinical scenario describing an infant who cries and spits up excessively but is otherwise healthy. Parents were randomly assigned to receive one of multiple vignettes.

  • Your baby does not usually need to see a doctor if they have reflux, as long as they’re happy, healthy and gaining weight.
  • Reflux is perfectly normal, common in infants, and is rarely serious.
  • Increases in both gastrointestinal infections and pneumonias have been seen in children and adults who take acid suppressors.
  • Infants with GER are thriving children and do not have recurrent agitation or forceful ejection of breast milk/formula.
  • Esophageal narrowing (stricture) and Barrett’s esophagus (abnormal cells in the esophageal lining) are long-term complications from inflammation that typically occur in adults.

Heartburn Foods SlidesLearn the symptoms of heartburn and which foods cause heartburn or GERD. Discover home remedies and which foods may provide treatment for heartburn relief. Why Am I Bloated? Bloating is a sign and symptom of gas in the stomach or GI tract. Certain foods or health problems like constipation may cause it.

These infants are known as “happy spitters,” because they are not cranky and do not appear to be in a great deal of pain when spitting up. In fact, your baby may feel better after a good spit-up.

Medications that might be prescribed include H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These medications ease symptoms of GERD by lowering acid production in the stomach and can help heal the lining of the food pipe. H2 blockers are usually used for short-term or on-demand relief and PPIs are often used for long-term GERD treatment. If feeding and positional changes do not improve GERD, and the infant still has problems with feeding, sleeping, and growth, a doctor may recommend medications to decrease the amount of acid in the infant’s stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when the contents of the stomach wash back into the baby’s food pipe.

The most commonly used drugs to treat acid reflux in children are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that prevent the secretion of acid by gastric cells. Some brand names of proton pump inhibitors include Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, and Protonix. While they have been considered generally safe, long-term use of acid-suppressing medications is not without concerns. Some older children and adults develop gastric polyps when taking them and most patients develop rebound hyperacidity symptoms when they are discontinued abruptly. Colic, says Hassall, is not a sign of acid reflux and should not be treated as such.

You will need to keep a diary of any symptoms your child feels that may be linked to reflux. These include gagging or coughing. You should also keep a record of the time, type of food, and amount of food your child eats. Your child’s pH readings are checked. They are compared to your child’s activity for that

diagnosing baby acid reflux

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