Your doctor will start with a physical exam and questions about your baby’s symptoms. Upper endoscopy. A special tube equipped with a camera lens and light (endoscope) is passed through your baby’s mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine. Tissue samples may be taken for analysis. For infants and children, endoscopy is usually done under general anesthesia. Medications are not recommended for children with uncomplicated reflux. Reflux medications can have complications, such as preventing absorption of iron and calcium in infants and increasing the likelihood of developing particular respiratory and intestinal infections.
Upper GI endoscopy. This is done using an endoscope (a thin, flexible, lighted tube and camera) that allows the doctor to look directly inside the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. It’s still unclear whether antacids decrease reflux in infants, However, they are considered safe for babies. Make sure that you strictly follow the instructions on the box. Surgery may be an option if medications continue reading this and lifestyle adjustments don’t help ease your baby’s symptoms and if your baby isn’t gaining weight or has other complications. Tightening the LES makes it more stable so that less acid flows back into the esophagus. The need for this type of surgery is rare, especially in infants. The procedure, called fundoplication , is usually reserved for babies whose reflux causes severe breathing problems or prevents growth.
Changing the foods your infant eats may help reduce the chances of acid reflux. And if you breast-feed, making changes to your diet might help your infant. A less-full stomach puts less pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the ring of muscle that prevents food from going back into the esophagus from the stomach. Pressure on this muscle causes it to lose effectiveness, allowing stomach contents to rise into the throat. LES strength takes time to develop over the first year, so many infants naturally spit up often.
In the most common type of surgery, a surgeon wraps the top part of the stomach around the esophagus, forming a cuff that closes off the esophagus whenever the stomach squeezes – preventing reflux. In most cases, lifestyle changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD. But sometimes, surgery is needed. The following treatments and advice may be offered if your baby appears to be in distress or their reflux has a specific, identified cause. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that opens to allow food into the stomach and closes to keep it there. This muscle isn’t fully matured in infants. When the LES opens, the contents of the stomach can flow back into the esophagus, causing the infant to spit up or vomit.