Gerd Symptoms in Infants

By Alicia Bodine

  • Overview

    Gerd Symptoms in Infants
    Gerd Symptoms in Infants
    Adults are not the only ones that can suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease. Infants can sometimes experience problems with it even as early as birth. It can be uncomfortable and even painful, especially for infants. If it is not treated, infants can begin to suffer in other area's of growth.
  • Causes

    There are only two basic causes of GERD in infants. First, it is inherited from a parent (mother or father) who has suffered with the condition. Second, when the gastrointestinal tract isn't working like it should, GERD can result. The lower esophageal sphincter stays closed when not in use so that no acid escapes from the stomach. If the lower esophageal sphincter stays open then the acid splashes up in to the esophagus. If this occurs over a few weeks then the infant is considered to have acid reflux or GERD.
  • Symptoms

    Acid reflux's most damaging symptom is the trouble it causes when feeding. If an infant is not eating properly, they will not gain weight. This can cause more health problems for the infant. GERD can cause serious vomiting in infants after they eat a meal or even in the middle of it. This is not your normal spit-it and you will be able to recognize it. Babies may then begin to refuse to eat because their throats are sore from all of the acid that has been coming up through it. The infant may not be able to eat because of the trouble they might have swallowing. They also may drool more than a normal baby would because of the soreness in their throats.


  • Symptoms

    Trouble sleeping is a big symptom of acid reflux in infants. It comes with many problems for the infant and leaves the parents exhausted with lack of sleep. When the infant lays down the lower esophageal sphincter opens and acid sneaks out. The acid can cause coughing, hiccuping, and even choking. This wakes the baby up. The cycle can continue all night long. Another danger is that while the baby is sleeping some of the acid can actually be aspirated in to the lungs which causes such things as bronchitis and pneumonia. A pediatrician can prescribe medicine to help your infant so no further suffering needs to occur. Call the pediatrician's office and get your infant in to see the doctor as soon as possible.
  • Diagnosis

    Often acid reflux, or GERD is diagnosed without any testing. Some pediatricians may be confident enough in the infants symptoms to go ahead and treat the condition. Others may want to order some tests. The best test is a PH probe. The probe can test the acid levels in the esophagus. An infant may also have to go through a test called the Upper GI endoscopy. Biopsy's can be taken as a tube is send down the esophagus, through the stomach, and in to the upper intestine. These biopsy's can show how much acid is present. Finally, an infant may need to participate in a Gastric emptying study. The infant drinks a chemical and a camera follows the chemical through the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Treatment

    Medications are used to treat infants that are suffering from acid reflux disease. Just like adults, infants are prescribed a dose of either Zantac or Pepcid. These drugs are quite harmless with the most common side effect being constipation. Depending on the severity of the GERD, doctors may also prescribe a drug called Reglan. This drug aids the baby in the digestion process so that they are keeping all of their food down. Reglan should not be used in babies that are prone to seizure disorders or infants who are on certain other medications. These drugs can be used until the baby outgrows the acid reflux. Babies are often free of the GERD by age one and no later than age five.
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