Every mother is aware of infant reflux. It is spitting of stomach content. More than ninety percent of infants may experience reflux sometime or the other. However, many parents are not aware of silent reflux. In infant’s silent reflux, the stomach content consisting of acid and digestive enzyme comes up into the food pipe (esophagus), but it does not come out, rather the content is swallowed back by the infant into the stomach. This means the content travels to and fro through the esophagus.
Silent reflux is more harmful than actual reflux, because the acid present in stomach content stays more time in the food pipe.Acid remaining for long period causes damage to the lining of esophagus and digestive tract. The condition is difficult to recognize as the infant does not spit.
Causes Of Silent Reflux In Infants
Actually the valve that prevents stomach content backing up in the esophagus is not well developed in infants. Therefore most babies have some degree of reflux problem. It is for this reason you may find so many babies have spitting problem.
Another reason for reflux in children is the short length of esophagus.
Besides, most of the time infants are kept in lying position.This allows the stomach content to travel into the esophagus if the valve does not close properly.
Symptoms Of Silent Reflux In Infants
- As the acid content in reflux damages the internal lining in silent reflux, the baby cries intensely in repetitive bouts due to pain. He is not able to express or tell anything other than crying.
- Chronic cough which does not relieve even after giving medicine.
- There is sour breath from his mouth.
- Noisy breathing.
- Due to internal pain, the infant avoid feeding.
- There are frequent hiccups.
- The voice becomes hoarse because of intense crying.
- Baby does not put on weight.
- Some babies do the opposite; they want to eat very often. The pain feels better. The resulting effect is infant becomes obese.
- Frequent gulping sound.
- Sometimes as a result of silent reflux, the baby may have breath holding spasms.
Diagnosing Silent Reflux In Infants
Since infants in their early stage are unable to speak, diagnosing silent reflux becomes a difficult task for many doctors. However, proper history taking, thorough physical examination and with the aid of tests, he is able to confirm the disease. Endoscopy examination is found to be effective in detecting the problem. In this test, an endoscope device is passed into the esophagus to look for damage and inflammation.
pH monitoring of esophagus is also found to be an alternative way. It involves of passing a catheter into the esophagus through the nose. The tube is kept for 24 hours in esophagus. At the other end, catheter has a monitor which keeps a watch on stomach acid in esophagus. The device records its finding throughout 24 hours. Presence of stomach acid soon after feeding confirms of acid reflux in infants.
Natural Remedies For Silent Reflux In Infants
Most doctors may recommend dietary changes in mother as well in infants. In breast feeding infants, mother’s diet plays an important role. This is because the food that she eats is passed on to the infant through breastfeeding. Mother should alter her food and observe the difference. In many cases the condition is solved.
However, the task is difficult as there are varieties of food that may probably cause the problem. Mother should eliminate certain food from her diet to see the difference. Mostly Dairy products eaten by mother are known to cause silent reflux in infants. In such scenario, she should eliminate this product from her diet and watch the impact on the infant.
Mother should also avoid too much of spicy and oily food. She should also avoid citrus coffee, tea as they are known contributors.
Infants should be fed smaller amount at shorter interval. Infant should be fed at an angle of 40 degree or greater. The infant should be held in upright position until he burps thoroughly. Avoid the baby to become excited soon after feeding.
In case if the problem does not heal, the pediatrician may recommend H2 or proton pump inhibitor medicines. Rarely surgery may be required to correct the lower end sphincter of the esophagus.