Whether an experienced parent, or one who is just starting out, sometimes it is necessary to know the acid reflux in babies symptoms. Knowing what, exactly, acid reflux is, as well as how to treat it can also be helpful. In a world where we all want to keep our children as safe as possible, knowledge is power.
The medical term for acid reflux is “gastroesophageal reflux”. In layman’s terms that means that the throat allows fluid from the stomach to flow backward and irritate it. It is caused by a muscle in the bottom of the esophagus. In people suffering from reflux, this muscle opens and allows stomach acid through. In infants, this is a very common occurrence, known and beloved by parents everywhere. It is known as ‘spitting up’ and is normally self-correcting between twelve and eighteen months.
The commonly seen symptoms of reflux in infants include frequent spitting up, refusing to eat or only eating small amounts, an uncommon number of hiccups or coughing, being irritable when trying to eat, constant crying or crying with no apparent reason, and even bad breath. These are the symptoms that are commonly seen. Some infants, however, may experience less common symptoms. These are more severe problems and can include problems swallowing, sore throats, trouble gaining or keeping weight, respiratory problems such as pneumonia or asthma, and times when they stop breathing. Along with being frightening, these symptoms are a sure sign that something is amiss. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it is advisable that you take them to a doctor fairly quickly.
The treatment of reflux in infants usually depends on the doctor, the child’s age, and any other health concerns. In most children this problem resolves itself, so if the child is otherwise healthy and happy the doctor may decide there is no reason to treat the problem. If, however, the infant has any of the less common but more sever symptoms, the doctor may prescribe an over the counter remedy. In these cases, the infant is treated much as an adult would be. Antacids like Tums, which neutralize the acid in the stomach, suppressers like Zantac, which suppress acid production, or blockers like Prevacid, which completely block acid production, are among the treatment choices.
While it is not normally advisable to give infants over the counter medications, the side effects of severe cases of reflux are bad enough to warrant it. A doctor will sometimes diagnose the problem on your word alone, but if they suspect a more serious problem, lab tests may be in order. Keep in mind, though, that the doctor does not know your child like you do. If you believe there is something wrong and wish your child to be treated, then you have the right to demand treatment.
Though common, acid reflux in babies symptoms should not be ignored. In most, it is nothing more than a stage of life that will be quickly grown out of. In some, however, it can be an uncomfortable and even dangerous problem.