Reflux disease

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Some babies have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD happens when the muscle at the opening of the stomach opens at the wrong times. This allows milk and food to come back up into the esophagus, the tube in the throat. Some symptoms of GERD include:

• Severe spitting up or spitting up after every feeding or hours after eating
• Vomiting (the milk shoots out of the mouth)
• Irritability and inconsolable crying as if in discomfort
• Arching of the back as if in severe pain
• Refusal to eat or pulling away from the breast during feeding
• Waking up often at night
• Slow weight gain
• Gagging or choking or having problems swallowing
• Respiratory/breathing problems (e.g., wheezing cough)

About 70–85 % of infants have regurgitation within the first 2 months of life, and this resolves without intervention in 95 % of infants by 1 year of age.

Also, some babies with only a few of these symptoms have a severe case of GERD. Not all babies with GERD spit up or vomit. For non-complicated reflux, no intervention is required for most infants. Effective parental reassurance and education regarding regurgitation and lifestyle changes are usually sufficient to manage infant reflux.

Talk to your baby’s doctor if your baby has symptoms of GERD. More severe cases of GERD may need to be treated with medicine.

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