Many of us associate heartburn with eating too many barbecue ribs, but it is possible for the acidity in our stomachs to affect us at a very early age. Acid reflux in babies is a condition that only affects a few infants, but can be quite severe for the first few months of an infant’s life. In general, this reflux is most common during the first year of a child’s life and becomes less prevalent after twelve to eighteen months. In the event that it becomes frequent in a child, it may indicate an allergy or a chronic condition.
Normal And Abnormal
The difficulty detecting this reflux condition in children is due to the fact that it is normal for babies to spit up and vomit. Most parents will be unable to tell the difference between a child who has reflux and a child who does not, simply because both will frequently vomit up their stomach contents. Provided that a child is healthy and happy for the most part, mild or moderate acid reflux is not a problem a parent should concern themselves with, since the child’s stomach will develop a stronger lining and be capable of retaining food. Only in the event that certain symptoms linger should a parent consider seeing a doctor.
Symptoms And Signs
When there are other symptoms besides vomiting, a parent should be concerned about their child’s health. An infant that does not gain weight because it cannot keep food down should be treated immediately, as this can cause many developmental issues. A child who spits up with enough force to projectile vomit, rather than simply drool over their lips, suggests severe acid reflux. Finally, any vomit that does not appear to be typical (pale and watery) may indicate a severe reflux; vomit that has blood or bloody stool is a serious threat to an infant’s health.
Causes And Factors
Often, genetic history is the greatest factor of whether or not an infant will suffer from reflux. If you have acid reflux or your family history shows a prevalence of heartburn or ulcers, you can consider it likely that an infant will have the condition as well. Since all infants have yet to develop the lining of their stomach and a particular muscle between stomach and esophagus, it is typical for food to flow backward and be spat up. Any parent who has a child will have to clean vomit frequently, regardless of a family history. Since babies lie flat most of the time and consume a liquid diet, there is lots of back-and-forth flowing of their stomach contents and no way to regulate it.
In some cases, acid reflux in babies is an allergy to a type of food. Some proteins in cow milk cause intolerance to allergic individuals, while ensophagitis occurs when white blood cells that rush to the stomach harm the lining of the esophagus. Finally, an obstruction in the esophagus can make it more difficult for a child to swallow and keep food down.