What is Reflux?
Reflux is a condition where the contents of the stomach pass into the oesophagus. This may then be swallowed back down (as in silent reflux), pass into the mouth (regurgitation) or be ejected from the mouth (vomiting).
Up to 70% of babies regurgitate some stomach contents into their mouth at least once daily. It is a normal occurrence and can be due to the frequency and size of a baby’s feeds putting the valve (sphincter) at the entrance to the stomach under pressure. This results in some stomach contents passing into the oesophagus or mouth. Remember a baby’s weight can triple in the first year of life and this growth requires constant feeding!
While Reflux can be a stand alone condition, it can also be caused by other conditions. Some examples we see very often at the clinic are Tongue Tie and Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy. If your baby has reflux symptoms, it’s always wise to keep in mind the fact that it may be pushed by something else. The causing condition must be treated before you’ll see an improvement in the reflux symptoms.
Reflux becomes an issue however when there are associated symptoms that cause distress. This is then called Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
There are a few different types of Reflux. Each have similar signs and symptoms and specific signs and symptoms. There are also a few different causes of reflux and sometimes it is another issue that is causing the reflux-like symptoms. In this case, it’s important to identify the primary cause and address that also. Reflux can also be mild, moderate or severe.
As you can see Reflux can be a complicated issue and you can be treating more than one digestive issue at a time. It’s an issue that may require constant revisions and adjustments in its more severe form. It is also a condition we see most days here at the clinic.
For information about all the different types, causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options see our book, Cherished Baby and Child.