How can I help my child live with GERD?
FundoplicationFundoplication is a surgical procedure for treating GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The procedure is to help GERD symptoms including heartburn. Eighty percent of patients with GERD also have a hiatal hernia, and during the fundoplication procedure, the hernial sac may also be surgically fixed. The procedure can be done with laparotomy, thoracotomy, or laparoscopy. Children who experience GERD symptoms also have a favorable prognosis though it may require longer use of medications and utilization of life style changes for many months.
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You may need to experiment with different positions. Some mothers sit their baby facing the breast, astride mum’s leg or cuddle them against the side of the sofa, facing the breast.
See your GP if your baby has any of the symptoms of GORD. The doctor will check your baby’s growth and development, and if necessary they will refer you to a paediatrician. Further tests may be arranged if your doctor is concerned. If your baby is otherwise well but has reflux and you are concerned, see your GP, paediatrician or Maternal and Child Health Nurse.
Your babyâ€™s provider may recommend this option if your child is not gaining weight because of vomiting, has frequent breathing problems, or has severe irritation in the esophagus. This is often done as a laparoscopic surgery. This method has less pain and a faster recovery time.
So what happens when you prescribe a drug that reduces stomach acid production? It might alleviate the symptoms of reflux, but what else is it doing? Weâ€™re going to find out what itâ€™s doing, and itâ€™s not good. For the babies that do have GERD and try acid-suppressing medications, I can tell you from clinical experience, sometimes it makes certain babies less irritable and sometimes it doesnâ€™t.
How is reflux diagnosed?
One of these studies shows that babies who consumed probiotics during their first three months of life were significantly less likely to have colic in the first place. There have been other studies that have shown that probiotics have actually reduced colic, even after it exists.
In some cases tube feedings may be recommended. Some babies with reflux have other conditions that make them tired.
Esophageal pH monitoring. To measure the acidity in your baby’s esophagus, the doctor will insert a thin tube through the baby’s nose or mouth and into the esophagus. The tube is attached to a device that monitors acidity.
Your baby might need to stay in the hospital while being monitored. Sometimes babies may have signs of reflux, but will not bring up milk or be sick.
Thicken your baby’s formula with a small amount of rice cereal if your doctor recommends it. In babies, this problem happens because the digestive tract is still growing. Reflux usually goes away as a baby matures. Reflux happens because of a problem with the ring of muscle at the end of the esophagus. The ring of muscle is called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.
Heartburn symptoms may mimic chest pain that occurs during a heart attack. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may produce other symptoms. Natural remedies to help GER and GERD symptoms in infants and children include thickening of pumped breast milk or formula with rice cereal, smaller and more frequent feedings, elevation of the infant for 15-30 minutes following a feeding and (in rare cases) use of an â€œelementalâ€ formula for infants with milk or soy protein sensitivity in association with GERD. Treatment for GER and GERD in infants and children include mild elevation of the infant for 15-30 minutes following a feeding, serving smaller but more frequent feedings and thickening of formula or pumped breast milk with rice cereal.
There is a muscle (the lower esophageal sphincter) that acts as a valve between the esophagus and stomach. When your baby swallows, this muscle relaxes to let food pass from the esophagus to the stomach. This muscle normally stays closed, so the stomach contents don’t flow back into the esophagus.
We could go on, but Iâ€™ll just mention a couple other things, and then weâ€™ll talk a little bit about alternatives. Another important role of stomach acid is to prevent infection. Weâ€™re exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi all the time. Theyâ€™re all around us in the environment. But a lot of times, if we get exposed to them through food or water that we swallow, the stomach acid just takes care of that.
You want to do some experimentation there. Obviously, removing gluten, gluten-containing grains, grains in general, processed and refined flour, legumes, things that can aggravate poor digestion should be removed. That can often make a big difference as well.
Medications may also be suggested – some form a barrier on top of the stomach contents to reduce the risk of them flowing backwards, while others damp down acid production in the stomach. Another type of medication speeds up the rate at which feed passes from the stomach into the duodenum and intestines.