Gastroesophageal Reflux in Babies

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What is gastroesophageal reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux refers to the bringing up of stomach contents into the food pipe (oesophagus) and/or to the mouth resulting in vomiting. The stomach contents are normally acidic which can result in pain and discomfort for the patient.

What are the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in babies?

Gastroesophageal reflux is common in babies. Some of the symptoms might include:

  • Vomiting or spitting up forcefully
  • Crying and arching the back suggestive of pain
  • Refusal to feed
  • Choking during feeding
  • Not able to gain weight well

Should my baby see a doctor?

If your baby has frequent vomiting and/or have any of the symptoms listed above, take him to see a paediatrician or paediatric gastroenterologist. Your doctor will determine if your baby’s symptoms are caused by reflux or some other conditions. Occasionally, blood tests or scans are performed to exclude other causes of vomiting. In severe cases, impedance-pH monitoring (a specialised test for reflux) may be indicated.

Treatment of reflux involves adjusting feeding regimes and postures. Occasionally, medications may be prescribed by your doctor especially in severe cases.