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GERD in Babies: Frequently Asked Questions

What causes reflux?

Most cases of infant reflux are caused by immaturity of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) or muscle between the stomach and esophagus. When working properly, this muscle opens to allow food to pass through into the stomach and closes again once it has. Most babies with reflux will simply have minor coordination problems with this muscle that will eventually improve in time.

If you are an adult experiencing GERD, your condition may be more difficult to treat. Luckily, you have options for treatment such as lifestyle changes or an anti-reflux procedure (such as the kind offered at IES Medical Group).

Will this ever go away?

As previously mentioned, more than likely, yes. Many children will outgrow their reflux within the first few months and by twelve to eighteen months, most of them will have outgrown it.

How do I know if my baby has reflux?

Because infant reflux is so common, many times reflux is diagnosed simply by the symptoms the infant is presenting. Some doctors prefer to have tests confirm reflux before prescribing medication.

How do I know if my baby needs treatment?

This is usually easily determined by the infant's quality of life and the complications (if any) they are experiencing. For more information, see the article on the decision to medication.

My baby appeared to have been outgrowing their reflux but just recently seems to be getting worse again, is it coming back?

This is where the coined phrase "Reflux Roller Coaster" applies. It does tend to have ups and downs. Sometimes it can be attributed to something the child ate not agreeing with them, teething can irritate reflux many times, as can colds, cases of flu, and other common illnesses. Other times, it can get worse for a day or more with no apparent reason. The good news is, that just as these lows come, they go again and things do improve.

What is the best formula to use when a baby has reflux?

Every baby is different so it's difficult to pinpoint one specific formula that is the best for reflux. If the baby has a milk allergy or sensitivity then soy-based or hypoallergenic will likely help the reflux improve. As well, hypoallergenic formulas are pre-digested (either partially or completely) so they tend to move through the stomach faster than standard formulas. Moving food out of the stomach faster can be beneficial for two reasons. If the baby is a picky eater it may help them get hungry again faster. It also means the food isn't sitting around in the stomach waiting to be refluxed.

I am breastfeeding but am wondering if this is making my baby worse, should I switch to formula?

The short answer is definitely not. Unless your doctor specifically tells you otherwise, breast milk is the best thing for reflux. Its proteins are more hypoallergenic than that of formula and it's much more easily digested than formula. If there is a concern about the baby having a reaction to breast milk, try eliminating milk and milk products from the diet first. Also, it may be beneficial to eliminate other foods that can make reflux worse.

How do I get my baby to sleep?

This is truly the million-dollar question for most parents with refluxers. Babies with reflux are notoriously poor sleepers. Propping them can be helpful, small frequent meals, and try not to feed them too close to bedtime. If they are on medications, administering the meds a half hour or so before bed may be helpful.

I've been told since my baby is gaining weight that his reflux is nothing to worry about but he/she cries all day. What can I do?

Read our tips for getting taken seriously, getting a diagnosis, and try some of the tips we mention. If that doesn't work, try videotaping the infant or keeping a diary of the crying.

Are there any support groups in my area?

PAGER would likely be the best place to start to look for local support groups. Otherwise, we have a member who has been discussing starting one in Hawaii, contact us for information on that, or try posting on our message boards...some of our members may know of local groups.

We started adding rice cereal to the formula to thicken it but it seems to make things worse. What next?

Some babies have reactions to rice that can make their reflux worse. In these cases adding oatmeal instead has proved to work. Speak to the pediatrician about trying this option.

I heard that Goat's milk would be digested better with acid reflux, so we tried it and the baby was able to digest it much better than her other formula. However, the doctor said it could ruin the baby's kidneys. What is the truth?

Actually, both are right. Goat's milk can be easier to digest and many babies can do better on it than cow's milk formula. In the UK you can even get Goat's Milk-based infant formula.

The problem with Goat's Milk is that there are certain aspects of it that are not nutritionally complete or even safe for a baby. The protein is too high which can create too much work for the kidneys and damage them, as well, there are certain deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals. It can be safe if properly diluted and mixed, but it's not safe to give it to a baby as it's sold in stores.

Treating Bile Reflux Gastritis

Bile reflux is a common disease and is actually somehow related to acid reflux, a more common type of gastrointestinal disorder. This happens when the enzyme which we call bile, backflows into the stomach, which doesn’t happen in a normal person’s gastrointestinal tract. Bile, as an enzyme functions in breaking down fats and fatty acids into forms absorbable by our body. When this backflows to the stomach it can be toxic and may irritate the lining of our stomach; thereby causing Bile Reflux Gastritis.

Bile Reflux Gastritis can present with signs and symptoms which may be very inconvenient. Because of the irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining, a patient is always expected to exhibit severe abdominal pain. Some other manifestations may include vomiting that contains bile, heartburn, as well as nausea.

Because of these discomforts and possible complications that may arise when Bile Reflux Gastritis remains untreated, you have to seek medical help to have this condition corrected.

Pain Management

Antacids like Maalox, Rolaid or Mylanta can provide quick relief from pain. These antacids neutralize the acidic environment of the stomach which causes irritation and inflammation. However, if the pain becomes severe and unrelieved, ask your physician for stronger analgesics that will treat the pain.

H2 Blockers

These types of medications decrease the production of acids by the stomach thus decreasing the triggers for pain and stomach discomfort. Examples of H2 Blockers are Cimetidine, Ranitidine, and Famotidine.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

PPIs are more problem-specific and target the cells that produce the particular acids that cause gastritis. Some types of PPIs are Omeprazole and Lansoprazole.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid

This is more into the treatment of Bile Reflux Gastritis because this drug facilitates an uninterrupted flow of bile from the bile ducts to the small intestines, avoiding its backwash into the stomach.


In worst cases, when Bile Reflux Gastritis just wouldn’t respond efficiently to medications and initial treatments, a surgical approach may be presented as an option to the patient and his family. These surgical procedures are aimed at correcting the physical defects that may contribute to bile reflux.

Bile Reflux Gastritis needs immediate treatment, otherwise, it can lead to more dangerous complications like gastric ulcers. For treatment done by highly skilled professionals with advanced technology, click here. Bile reflux has also been related to the occurrence of esophageal and gastric cancer in patients whose conditions have been left untreated so in order to steer clear of these health hazards, early prevention and treatment are always the way to go.

West Virginia Marfan Chapter


The West Virginia Marfan Chapter of the National Marfan Foundation just became a chapter on March 7,1998.We are very honored,and we hope that our efforts will be able to assist you in what ever means possible. Thank You and enjoy!


Angela Burns....President
Jim Burns....Treasurer
Virginia Vandell....Secretary

Our goals are :

1. To give you timely and accurate facts about Marfan syndrome.
2. To give you and your family support and understanding.
3. To offer any help that we can to your family physician.
4. And to keep you updated on current events and news with the chapter and research.

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