GERD and Babies
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called as GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach. The esophagus is responsible to carry food from the mouth to the stomach.
When refluxed stomach acid reaches the lining of the esophagus it causes a burning sensation in the chest called as heartburn. However, occasional heartburn is normal and does not mean one had GERD. And heartburn that occurs twice a week can be termed as GERD.
Anyone of us can have GERD.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Infants and Children?
Some of the most common symptoms of GERD include:
- A burning sensation starts in the chest behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and last for several hours.
- Burning in the throat
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Swallowing can be difficult
- Chronic coughing
What Causes GERD and Acid Reflux in Infants and Children?
Doctors are not sure about the exact cause of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). A hiatal hernia may contribute. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. The diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from coming up into the esophagus. When hiatal hernia is there it is easy for acid to function. In such situation, hiatal hernia can cause reflux.
Other common factors that can contribute to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:
Even foods can contribute to reflux, include:
- Citrus fruits
- Drinks with caffeine
- Spicy foods
Will The Baby Outgrow GERD?
Most babies outgrow infantile GERD.
How Is Infantile GERD Diagnosed?
Diagnose for infantile GERD involves the following:
Barium swallow radiograph – A barium swallow radiograph uses an x-rays to help detect abnormalities such as hiatal hernia and any severe inflammation of the esophagus. The test involves drinking a solution and then taking x-rays. Problems can be detected in its early stage.
Upper endoscopy – It is performed in a doctor’s clinic. The doctor will numb your throat and slide down a thin, flexible plastic tube called endoscope. A camera is fixed in the endoscope, which allows doctor to see the surface of esophagus and help determine the abnormalities.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment Options?
In order to treat GERD you need to do the following:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Loss weight
- Eat small meals
The doctor will recommend the antacids, which you can buy without any prescription, to help stop acid production. Antacids such as Mylanta and Tums are usually the first drugs recommended to relieve from heartburn and other GERD symptoms.
H2 blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB), nizatidine (Axid AR), and ranitidine (Zantac 75), impede acid production. They are available in prescription strength and over the counter. They are effective for about half of those who have GERD symptoms.