Recognizing and treating silent reflux in infants

What is silent reflux in infants?

Silent reflux in infants is exactly the same as infant reflux minus the spitting up. When an infant refluxes silently the stomach contents travel up the throat but the infant is able to swallow it back down again before it actually comes out. This means the stomach acid burns on the trip up the throat and on the trip back down. Silent reflux in infants is not as obvious because there is no actual spitting up, which makes it much harder to detect.

Symptoms of silent reflux in infants

Your baby may exhibit only some of these symptoms:

  • poor weight gain or rapid weight gain
  • gulping with a painful look on the face
  • sour breath, wet sounding burps
  • persistent or chronic cough
  • frequent hiccups
  • sudden burst of painful crying
  • painful wakeups from sleep or poor sleeping habits
  • poor feeding habits, possible feeding aversions
  • neck or back arching during or after feeding
  • excessive fussiness, crying or colic
  • demands to be carried constantly
  • red or salmon colored throat
  • blood in the stool or spit up
  • These last two signs are possible indicators of Barett's Esophagus. The risk of Barett's Esophagus is slightly higher with silent reflux because there is generally more damage to the throat with silent reflux in infants, although it is still a fairly low risk.

    Improving silent reflux in infants

    Silent reflux in infants is improved by anything that improves infant acid reflux. Natural remedies such as positioning, dietary adjustments and reviewing breastfeeding techniques should be tried before reflux medicines but the important thing is getting your baby's reflux under control.


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    More information:

    Baby reflux or colic?
    Infant acid reflux and colic home remedies
    Alternative treatments for infant acid reflux
    Medications for infant acid reflux
    Tests for infant acid reflux

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