Infant GERD

How to Check Your Child for Infant GERD

When you hear about GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease as it is known by doctors and physicians, you generally hear about how it hurts adults.  Less people know about the fact that infants and small babies can have this problem as well.  In fact, babies will often have this medical problem and no one ever knows it.

It can be awfully hard to diagnose an infant with GERD.  All of the GERD information out there is for adults.  There is very few articles or books that talk about this illness in respects to these little baby people.  Even so, babies can’t tell you what is wrong.  They can’t say, ‘oh, it feels like my chest is burning.’  Instead, you have to look for the specific signs of heartburn.

First of all, you will notice that your infant is crying more than normal.  This can be hard to diagnose if you are a first time parent because you won’t really know what is normal.  If you think they are crying too much, you may want to enlist the opinion of your mother or someone else who knows about the behavior of small children.  This could help you greatly, especially with the lack of GERD information pertaining to infants and babies.

You also may notice if your infant has GERD if they act differently after they eat or while they sleep.  With sufferers of GERD, infant or adult, certain foods can cause a lot of pain.  If your baby cries more after eating, this could mean that it is having a burning reaction in their throat.  GERD also acts up when you sleep.  This position, lying down, can aggravate the condition.  If your baby has a hard time sleeping, even more so than most other babies, then this can be a sign that it suffers from GERD.

If GERD becomes severe enough, it can actually impair your ability to swallow.  This is the case with small children as well.  If you notice that your baby drools frequently and has trouble swallowing, this could mean that they have GERD.  If your child has any of these symptoms, it is important to get them to a doctor as soon as you can.  This is a very painful condition and could be potentially very hazardous to your baby’s health.

Since infants do not do well with the kind of health tests that adults go through, your doctor will often diagnose your baby with GERD just by what you say.  Because of this, you should be as honest and detailed as possible when you visit the doctor.  This will save some time and effort.  If the physician is still unsure about your baby’s diagnosis, they may run some tests.  For example, they might have your infant drink a liquid that is laced with barium.  They will then take an x-ray of the baby’s digestive system to see if they can determine any damage in that area.

There are many other tests that the doctor can do in order to determine if your infant has GERD.  For example, they could take a pH balance of the baby’s esophagus.  This will determine if there is a high level of stomach acid in this area of the baby’s body.  If so, then the doctor will know that your baby has GERD.

There are many ways to treat infant GERD, and it all depends on the severity of the condition.  If it isn’t that bad, the doctor may just have you change up the baby’s diet to include less food that causes the symptoms.  They may also put your child on medication such as antacids.  If it is particularly severe, your child may even need surgery, although this is very rare in babies and infants.

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