Acid reflux in infants: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Acid reflux in infants: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

In either case, the problem is usually manageable. In older children, the causes of GERD are often the same as those seen in adults. Also, an older child is at increased risk for GERD if he or she experienced it as a baby.

In some children, the symptoms associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease disappear with or without treatment, usually by the age of two. However, in some children, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is more of a long-term condition and can have a serious effect on both the child and family’s quality of life.

What Symptoms Are Associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux?

If your child’s acid reflux symptoms are more subtle, for example, he is only fussy and never spits up, the possibility of acid reflux may be overlooked, and you may even need an evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist for a diagnosis. An esophageal pH probe is a thin flexible tube with a sensor at the tip that measures the degree of acidity (pH). Doctors pass the tube through the child’s nose, down the throat, and into the end of the esophagus. The tube is usually left in place for 24 hours. Normally, children do not have acid in their esophagus, so if the sensor detects acid, it is a sign of reflux.

Doctors rarely consider surgery as a treatment for pediatric GERD. They generally reserve it for treating cases in which they can’t control serious complications, such as esophageal bleeding or ulcers.

Your child will wear the tube for 24 hours. He or she may need to stay in the hospital during the test.

in infants demonstrated that at least 1 episode of regurgitation a day was reported in half of infants aged 0 to 3 months. Yet, information on the prevalence of symptoms associated with GER during childhood after infancy is lacking.

The most well-known prokinetic drug is cisapride, widely prescribed until 2000, when it was withdrawn due to cardiac toxicity which increased the risk of sudden death [97]. Currently, other prokinetics such as domperidone and metoclopramide are still commonly prescribed. Nevertheless, neither have robust evidence to support their use in children with GERD [98, 99, 100]. Baclofen is a gamma-amino-butyric-acid (GABA) receptor agonist which has been shown to reduce both acid and non-acid refluxes in adults, probably by inhibiting the transient relaxations of the lower esophageal sphincters (TLESRs) [101].

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Pyloric stenosis is the thickening of the region of the stomach (pyloris) as it transitions into the first section of the small intestine. Studies show that most infants with pyloric stenosis have recurrent symptoms of forceful emesis shortly after a meal. The child is generally content until just before vomiting. There is a genetic predisposition favoring the first-born male. Diagnostic evaluation includes abdominal ultrasound or barium swallow (see below).

Young children may require higher per kilogram doses to obtain the same acid-blocking effect [93, 94, 95, 96]. In older children and adolescents’ heartburn, regurgitation and chest pain are the specific symptoms of GERD. According to experts’ opinions, in this age group, the description and localization of these symptoms are a reliable indicator for GERD, and an acid suppressive trial may be empirically started, regardless of an objective evaluation of reflux.

Sometimes, a more severe and long-lasting form of gastroesophageal reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause infant reflux. A global, evidence-based consensus on the definition of gastroesophageal reflux disease in the pediatric population. Symptoms suggestive of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) not responding to (or needing ongoing) medical treatment. The age of the infant or child when symptoms started – regurgitation and GORD usually begin before the age of 8 weeks and resolve in 90% of infants before they are 1 year of age. Onset of regurgitation and/or vomiting after 6 months old or persisting after 1 year old may indicate an alternative diagnosis (for example a urinary tract infection).

This muscle relaxes to let food into the stomach and contracts to stop food and acid passing back up into the food pipe. Most infants “spit up” milk as part of their daily activities. The action of spitting up milk is known as reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux is perfectly normal, common in infants, and is rarely serious. ( 2014 ) Pharmacological treatment of children with gastro-oesophageal reflux (Cochrane Review).

But frequent vomiting associated with discomfort and difficulty feeding or weight loss may be caused by something more serious known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Both GER and GERD can cause the upward movement of stomach content, including acid, into the esophagus and sometimes into or out of the mouth. Often times, that vomiting is repetitive. The differences between the two conditions are marked by the severity and by the lasting effects.

However, when digestive disturbances in children become more frequent, it’s a good time to seek an opinion from a medical professional. If these don’t help and your child still has severe symptoms, then surgery might be an option.

Thus, in accordance to the ESPGHAN-NASPGHAN international guidelines, we believe that a serious effort to curtail PPI empiric use in infant is firmly required. Recent advances in the pathogenesis of reflux-induced respiratory symptoms have followed the introduction in clinical practice of MII-pH, which is available for pediatric use since 2002 [26].

Data from a systematic review of randomized controlled trials do not support the use of proton pump inhibitors to decrease infant crying and irritability. Reflux after meals occurs in healthy persons; however, these episodes are generally transient and are accompanied by rapid esophageal clearance of refluxed acid. Some consider the small reservoir capacity of the infant’s esophagus to be a predisposing factor to vomiting. The causes and risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux in children are frequently multifactorial.

acid reflux children causes

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