When a baby or child has gastro-oesophageal reflux, the food and drink travels down the foodpipe as normal. However, some of the mixture of food, drink and acid travels back up the foodpipe, instead of passing through to the large and small intestines. As the food and drink is mixed with acid from the stomach, it can irritate the lining of the foodpipe, making it sore. This is gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When the liquid travels back up the windpipe sometimes it can enter the lungs and cause a chest infection. Ways to avoid this are positioning when feeding, so that the child is upright but also and very importantly thicker food.
My son Jago had recurrent chest infections when his nutrition was only formula. After reading reports on how Real Food blending helped to eliminate reflux ergo chest infections…I began to look into it. Jago is now on a Real Food Diet and has on average one chest infection per year, much lower than before. See Nutrition.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus.
GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, including abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed, impaired expulsion of gastric reflux from the esophagus, or a hiatal hernia. These changes may be permanent or temporary. Often after a brain injury the profile of muscles can change, they can weaken and/or spasm which can cause of reflux.
Treatment is typically via lifestyle changes and medications such as proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers or antacids with or without alginic acid. Surgery may be an option in those who do not improve. In the Western world between 10 and 20% of the population is affected.
“Of the estimated 4 million babies born in the US each year, up to 35% of them may have difficulties with reflux in the first few months of their lives, known as ‘spitting up’. One theory for this is the “fourth trimester theory” which notes most animals are born with significant mobility, but humans are relatively helpless at birth, and suggests there may have once been a fourth trimester, but children began to be born earlier, evolutionarily, to accommodate the development of larger heads and brains and allow them to pass through the birth canal and this leaves them with partially undeveloped digestive systems.” (Wikepedia)
This theory is particularly interesting for children who have no mobility and would explain why non mobile children tend to suffer so badly with Reflux. As outlined above there are various drugs which can help with reflux, such as: Gaviscon, Ranitidine, Domperidone, Omeprozale, Lansoprazole.
In extreme circumstances children can have surgery to counteract the problem, this is known as Nissen Fundoplication. In short it is, when the upper curve of the stomach (the fundus) is wrapped around the oesophagus and sewn into place so that the lower portion of the oesophagus passes through a small tunnel of stomach muscle. This surgery strengthens the valve between the oesophagus and stomach (lower oesophageal sphincter), which stops acid from backing up into the oesophagus as easily. This can work very well for some children but can also have side effects such as gas bloat, retching and swallowing problems.
For further information please visit Fundoplication
As mentioned at the beginning of this page a less discussed topic is the Blended Diet which we found to reduce reflux in our son dramatically. There is little medical evidence to back up why this works but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence which has shown some very promising results. See the following US study entitled ‘Pureed by Gastronomy Tube diet improves gagging and retching in children with Fundoplication’.