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Reflux in small children: causes, symptoms and treatment

Рефлюкс у ребенкаReflux is the backward movement of stomach contents into the esophagus. Reflux in children is often the cause of regurgitation, vomiting. Consider the main causes, signs and effective treatment.

Reflux occurs because the function of the lower esophageal sphincter is broken. This sphincter has the form of a kind of ring, which, being compressed, divides the esophagus and the stomach, and when the flow of food – decompressed by passing it into the stomach. Under normal physiological conditions the sphincter passes the food into the stomach but does not let it back up into the esophagus. For violation of this function is going to throw food into the esophagus.

What factors influence the occurrence of disease?

One of the reasons for the development of gastroesophageal reflux in young children is the overflow of the stomach with food. The child's muscles of the stomach and esophagus are still very weak. In rare cases gastro-oesophageal reflux can be a food Allergy, the narrowing of the esophageal opening. No need to ignore such a cause of reflux, congenital or acquired pathology of the digestive system in children.

The older children reflux caused by gastroduodenal pathology. These include:

  • failure of cardiac sphincter
  • gastritis (acute or chronic),
  • gastric ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer.

Esophageal reflux disease often develops on the background of excessive consumption of chocolates or any other sweets, mints, fatty foods. This is because the digestive system of children are quite vulnerable to such products, and they should be used sparingly.

The main signs

The most characteristic syndrome of reflux in a child is heartburn. However, small children can't verbally portray this condition. Meanwhile prolonged ingestion of acid in a child's esophagus may cause the appearance of ulcers on the surface of the mucous membrane. Parents can pay attention to the child's anxiety, refusal of food for a very long time.

Тошнит ребенка на голодный желудокFrequent regurgitation in a child slowed growth. This is especially noticeable in infants. The older child may complain of nausea, vomiting, burning sensation in the chest and bitter feeling in the mouth.

Parents must be especially careful, as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease has nonspecific symptoms. They are easy to confuse with other diseases. Here's what you need to pay attention to:

  • The lack of appetite for a long time.
  • The appearancebad mouth odor. Especially should be alerted that this odor is provided that the teeth are intact.
  • Hiccup.
  • Signs of suffocation (appear when the mass from the stomach enters the mouth).
  • Change tone of voice.
  • Nonspecific cough not associated with colds.
  • Disorders in swallowing.
  • Inflammation of the ear.
  • Early destruction of primary teeth.

Reflux among babies

Reflux in newborns occurs almost always. Some studies say that this child's reflux is normal. However, normal regurgitation can only be under the condition that they are rare and the baby is not losing weight. It is also known that a child under the age of one month, reflux happens in 85% of cases.

However, after three to four months reflux becomes more rare and to ten months disappears completely. No cure for it should not be pursued. If the baby keeps spitting up, gastro-esophageal reflux is considered a disease.

Newborn babies are often colicky, gas formation in the intestine, difficult to discharge, re-swallowing of food. It is also known that the tendency to reflux in the newborns is transmitted genetically. This judgment is based on the fact that in some families regurgitation is common, and in others it is observed very rarely or not at all observed.

When it is necessary to address urgently to the doctor

ВрачIn some cases, reflux is hazardous to health. Contact your doctor if your child has these symptoms:

  • conventional medicine for reflux are ineffective;
  • the kid has difficulty swallowing food;
  • he began rapidly losing weight;
  • vomit have black color or clearly visible blood;
  • suddenly had a fever;
  • the baby had the hiccups and she is a long time;
  • the chair becomes black.

All this may indicate serious disorders of the stomach and intestines that requires immediate medical attention.


Gastro-esophageal reflux in young children requires careful diagnosis. The doctor is not enough just to collect the medical history. If the discomfort when reflux persists, a pediatrician appoints the following types of surveys:

  • X-ray examination of the stomach and esophagus with the use of low-emission slurry of barium sulfate. This substance is used in order to be able to cover not only the esophagus but upper sections of the stomach and small intestine.
  • Test for pH. The patient swallows a thin tube with a probe. It remains in the stomach for a day, then removed. This diagnostic detects whether the breathingcause of reflux.
  • Endoscopy. For this survey used a thin and long tube with a special camera. With its help, the doctor can examine the gastrointestinal tract.

Methods for the treatment and prevention of esophagitis

To change this condition in children in several ways, depending on the age of the child.

For newborns it is expedient to apply such measures for the prevention of reflux:

  • The cradle preferably slightly lift the baby's head.
  • He also should keep his head slightly elevated after each feeding for half an hour.
  • The food in the bottle should not be too liquid.
  • Try a little to change the mode of feeding the baby.
  • With the permission of the attending physician, children may be given solid food.

For older children, to avoid regurgitation can be somewhat different:

  • Raise your head in bed.
  • To maintain the vertical body position after eating for at least two hours. In General, the habit to lie down after eating, children should gradually wean.
  • Feed the baby frequently and it is necessary to avoid too big breaks in feeding.
  • It is necessary to reduce the consumption of foods that irritate the stomach.
  • Children should engage in regular physical activity, so strongly encourage your desire to exercise.


ЛекарстваTo reduce the formation of gases in the intestine of the child, it is advisable to take drugs Milikon and Gaviscon. There are dosage forms designed just for babies with reflux. To neutralize the effect of hydrochloric acid on the stomach, need to make:

  • antacids (Maalox, etc.);
  • inhibitors of the receptors responsible for the production of hydrochloric acid, among which children designate Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, and others;
  • enzymes that promote better digestion of food.

However, antacids for infants with reflux need to give very careful, because pediatricians do not have a single point of view on whether the increased levels of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice cause gastro-oesophageal reflux in children. In large doses these drugs can cause the baby diarrhea.

When the use of surgical intervention for the treatment of

In most cases, gastro-esophageal reflux in young children are well treated with conservative method and rarely requires surgery. However, in some cases, apply the operation to Nissen, allowing to return to the anatomical function of the esophagus. During such operation the top of the stomach wrapped around the esophagus. A so-called deflection. It can be compressed and closed when the stomach is compressed. This allows you to removereflux.

Such a procedure against reflux in children is very effective but has some risks. Always discuss the feasibility of such operations with the pediatrician before deciding on the surgery.