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Gastroesophageal reflux in infants
Alternative namesChalasia; GE reflux; Reflux - infants
DefinitionGastroesophageal reflux is the movement of stomach contents up the esophagus toward the mouth, rather than down through the digestive system ( peristalsis ).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
In infants, a small amount of gastroesophageal reflux is normal. Persistent reflux with frequent vomiting , and subsequent irritation of the esophagus is indicated by unrelenting crying and discomfort. Reflux associated with weight loss or reflux that causes breathing difficulty is considered abnormal.
Signs and tests
There may be a history of episodes of aspiration pneumonia .
If your baby has reflux problems, prop him or her upright for one to two hours after feeding. This can be helped by use of a reflux board . When the infant begins to eat solid food, thickened foods are preferable to thin foods. Sometimes medications are used to help reduce symptoms, including antacids or Reglan (a prescription medication that improves peristalsis ).
The majority of infants outgrow this condition. In unusual cases, reflux may persist into childhood and can cause varying degrees of esophageal damage.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if your baby is vomiting frequently, especially if the vomiting is forceful or if other symptoms of reflux occur.
Avoid allowing your baby to sit in a slumped position after meals.
Update Date: 1/12/2003Andrew J. Muir, M.D., M.H.S., Division of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT