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Protect Your Infant Against The Dangers Of GERD

May 1, 2008
Data from recent studies show that children from 3 to 7 must endure acid reflux symptoms between 2 and 8% of the time, with this figure rising to 20% of infants who suffer. Since the 1990s, infant gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has been on the increase. Infants challenged on a developmental or neurological level are even more at risk from attacks of GERD.

Before getting into the real causes and menaces of GERD in babies, let's make a quick survey of the cause, which is local and immediate for this medical discomfort. Plainly put, acid reflux is when the digestive system fails to operate properly, in particular the weakening of the LES being most often the reason for this. The LES is the lower esophageal sphincter. When it becomes weakened and cannot shut off all the stomach contents in the stomach, then those contents can be thrown back up into the throat, past the larynx and even into the upper breathing passage. Reflux is not only the exception. Normal digestive backpressure may cause this, for example after feeding, defecating, coughing or crying. It is a problem that may also lead to serious complications of health with the likes of feeding problems, pain, voice ailments, infections, ulcers, even cancer

Many infants "spit up" on a regular basis, which, as vomiting, does not in itself cause discomfort, vomit passing through the mouth or nose. GERD and normal vomiting can be easily mistaken one for the other in infants. Diagnosis of GERD can be a special problem. Because of the limited volume of their esophagus, infants vomit or regurgitate more than adults. To add further difficulty, signs that all may not be well are difficult to see, especially as infants have no way of putting into words what they are feeling.

Additional signs include pain in the belly, infections of the middle ear, a whistling breathing sound, enlargement of the adenoids, chronic coughing, asthma, anemia, spitting up of blood (known as hematemesis), croup that repeats, back-arching and inflammation of the nose and /or sinus. When GERD attacks your infant, a number of further symptoms such as these appear. For instance, as GERD vomiting is inherently painful, babies who vomit too often will often cry or scream for hours on end or stay awake unable to go to sleep, an indication that they may well be victims of this.

Early diagnosis and treatment is justified, and they are prerequisites for your infant to return to safety and good health. An appointment with a gastroenterologist or an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor is the best solution for an accurate diagnosis for your infant. The threat from ignoring acid reflux in infants is that it may evolve into further serious complications as well. An infant who comes to believe that feeding will be painful may stop breastfeeding and lose weight. Inherently serious conditions such as erosive esophagitis can also be the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

If the doctor's diagnosis is of GERD, then parents have to choose a treatment. There are three possibilities of remedies for an infant with gastroesophageal reflux disease: surgical; medicaments (over the counter or prescription); or a holistic remedy.

Surgical solutions are rarely implemented, because of the threat of serious complications exceeding those of acid reflux itself. A surgical procedure called Nissan Fundoplication is one option, the goal being to reduce looseness in the channel between the esophagus and stomach.

Prescription medicaments are also undesirable because:

1. Medicaments are too focused on symptoms of GERD (such as acid generation) but do not attack fundamental causes, such as inner body triggers and factors, lifestyle, and diet.

2. Medications have even more risks for infants than adults. Cisapride with its serious side effect of arrythmia of the heart was taken off the shelves for that very reason. Pneumonia and Tourette's syndrome are some of the subsequent effects of other common medications. As prescribed reflux medications, Reglan and bethanechol for example have never been tested for babies.

3. Your baby's autoimmune system may also be compromised by such medicaments especially in the case of a long-term dependency.

Did anyone tell you that the best way to protect your infant from the pain and suffering of GERD symptoms is to select a holistic treatment in conjunction with real moves towards a natural lifestyle and diet?

Recent scientific writing shows the advantage of all natural holistic cures of GERD. Studies by Rudolph, Mazur and Liptak also available in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology indicated that moving from cow's milk formula to a formula based in casein hydrolysate could be better for babies who "spit up". Other studies done by Ravelli, Tobanelli and Volpi which appeared in the same Journal in 2001, showed that formula using on cow's milk can mean delay in gastric emptying in infants who have an allergy to milk proteins. For infants with GERD, breastfeeding is a clear winner compared to any formula for babies, because milk from the breast helps to speed up digestive transit and improve overall digestion.

Therefore, the holistic solution offered by holistic medicine, which adopts as a priority the protection of your baby from gastroesophageal reflux disease can be the best choice in the long term for safety and for effectiveness. The conclusions above as well as many others, reinforce conclusions that infant GERD is not just a local ailment (going further than just the esophagus), but in fact that it is the whole human body which is affected by elements that are concerned with the environment, diet and internal factors.
About the Author
Jeff Martin is a medical researcher, health consultant and author of the #1 best-selling e-book Heartburn No More- Open The Door To an Acid Reflux Free Life. To Learn More About Infant GERD Visit: Infant GERD
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