Reflux in an Infant

Jun 29, 2022

Spit-up is never fun to deal with. Sometimes it can be alarming, depending on how much spit up there is. But what is it exactly, and what can be done to reduce the likelihood of it happening? More than half of infants in their first 4 months of life experience gastroesophageal reflux (GER) episodes, and it does become less frequent with age. Gastroesophageal reflux may be due to transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and results in the retrograde passage of gastric contents into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a pathologic condition in which there is the retrograde passage of gastric contents into the esophagus and oropharynx, resulting in complications. This may include failure to thrive, recurrent respiratory symptoms, or changes in the epithelial lining of the distal esophagus. A decrease in parasympathetic tones, such as a decrease in the activity of the vagus nerve, could reduce control of the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts as a barrier to reflux. This could increase the frequency of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and result in GER. This decrease in parasympathetic activity occurs before a GER event and has been measured using heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. It would follow that stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system may help reduce the occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux. The chiropractic adjustment does just that. The first step, however, would be to measure your heart rate variability and assess the activity and function of your parasympathetic nervous system. Specializing in pediatric, prenatal, and family chiropractic care, Symmetry Chiropractic assesses your nervous system function using scan technology such as HRV, thermography, and surface electromyography (sEMG). This information along with a physical examination allows us as chiropractors to make recommendations as to the next step regarding care.


References Djeddi, Djamal-Dine et al. “Involvement of autonomic nervous activity changes in gastroesophageal reflux in neonates during sleep and wakefulness.” PloS one vol. 8,12 e83464. 13 Dec. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083464 Jacobson, Jillian C, and Samir R Pandya. “A narrative review of gastroesophageal reflux in the pediatric patient.” Translational gastroenterology and hepatology vol. 6 34. 25 Jul. 2021, doi:10.21037/tgh-20-245

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