How To Prevent Baby Acid Reflux
Statistics done recently show that some 20% of the eight million babies born every year in the US suffer from acid reflux. In addition, babies that face developmental or neurological difficulties are even more at risk from this complaint. Baby acid reflux is a condition that has not been completely researched and that is also often subject to misinformation.
In simple terms, acid reflux, also called GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) is a mechanical problem in the digestive system, which can be corrected. In a healthy person, there is a circular muscle acting as a valve at the junction of the stomach and the esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter) and stopping stomach acids from flowing back up the esophagus. Acid reflux happens when that sphincter cannot retain the acids in the stomach. These then move into the throat sometimes as far as the larynx. Numerous symptoms can result from acid reflux leading to complications like infections, pain, ulcers, difficulties in eating, vocal disorders and even cancer in the long run.
For the first 3 to 4 months of a baby’s life, frequent vomiting happens in 50% of all cases, peaking at 4 months. In addition, reflux condition is easy to confuse with usual vomiting in babies. Vomiting is both painful and distressing when caused by acid reflux. Baby acid reflux can be particularly challenging to diagnose and treat. Because Babies cannot speak about their feelings, it is difficult to determine if they are suffering from a medical problem.
The best solution for the right diagnosis of baby acid reflux is to have a specialist diagnosis performed by an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor or a gastroenterologist. To correctly diagnose Baby acid reflux, several further symptoms of acid reflux need to be seen. Besides sporadic vomiting, these Baby acid reflux symptoms include: infections of the middle ear, waking in the night without reason, enlargement of the adenoids, abdominal pains, asthma, crying non-stop, anemia, vomiting of blood (hematemesis), continual coughing, a high-pitched sound when breathing, repeated croup, reluctance to feeding and inflammation of the nose and the sinus.
Possibilities for remedies to gastro esophageal reflux disease can be: medicaments, surgery and holistic programs. However, even for adult acid reflux patients, surgery is rarely an option in normal situations. For baby acid reflux, neither medicaments not surgery are optimal answers. Medicaments may be sub-optimal in particular for Babies for any of the three reasons below:
1. Medicaments treat the acid reflux symptoms but do not fix the fundamental cause of the condition.
2. Medicaments can impact a baby’s immune system, leading to weakness and vulnerability in immunity, possibly also leading to different health complications other than GERD as well as the worsening of acid reflux.
3. Medicaments can cause multiple secondary effects that are present but hidden in Babies.
Altering feeding and sleeping position was also seen to be of benefit in treating baby acid reflux. Research demonstrated that a transition to soy-based formula from cow’s milk based formula gave a 40% recovery rate for babies. Other research showed GERD symptoms juice products as an aggravating factor for baby acid reflux. The best solution to baby acid reflux is a holistic one while taking into account a global set of changes in diet and lifestyle. Strong credence is lent to this concept by research done recently.