A Little Known Stomach Problem for Infants

It's normal for newborns to act irritable and spit up their food from time to time, but if the conditions persist your child could have a rarely known condition called Pyloric Stenosis.

It is a blockage of the stomach. It's very easily treated, that is if doctors can diagnose the problem in its early stages.

Seven-week-old Camden was a healthy baby when he was born. He weighed 10 pounds. But instead of gaining weight, he began to lose it.

His mom says as soon as he ate, it would come right back up. It's not unusual for babies to spit-up, but it is unusual for them to have projectile vomiting. When Camden had one of those type episodes, his mom knew something was wrong.

Doctors diagnosed the boy with Pyloric Stenosis, a little-known condition caused by an abnormal Pyloric valve.

Dr. Michael Taylor is a pediatric surgeon and says, “The pyloric valve is the distal end of the stomach. A little muscular tube that allows food that we swallow that comes into the stomach to be released into the small intestine in small amounts basically it's a regulator.”

Dr. Taylor says Camden's Pyloric Valve wasn't working properly so he was throwing up almost everything he ate.

“It's made up of muscular tissue and for whatever reason, we don't know why, that muscle becomes thick, and when it does it closes off the intestine so that the food we eat can not go into the small intestine so it stays in the stomach.”

The vomiting starts gradually, but as the Pylorus becomes tighter over time, the baby's vomiting becomes more forceful.

“It can become so severe that nothing can go through and eventually they start having usually what's described as projectile vomiting, where they throw up and it shoots across the room."

A baby with Pyloric Stenosis acts irritable and hungry even immediately after eating. They have fewer wet diapers and harder stools, and if the vomiting continues the baby can become dehydrated.

"The process usually starts when the child is two to three weeks of age and usually isn't diagnosed until they're about four weeks of age, so it takes a good week, week and a half to two weeks before we are able to make the diagnosis because the symptoms usually are common with other pathology such as cold or reflux.

Once doctors suspect Pyloric Stenosis, they can use an ultra sound to measure the thickness of the valve. A 10-minute surgery can correct the problem forever.

It certainly worked for Camden. Mom says he's finally gaining weight.

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