FDA Tells Parents When To Be Worried About "Spitting Up"

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A new report finds the Food and Drug Administration addressing those parents who are concerned that their children’s tendency to spit up could be indicative of an underlying medical condition.  The information on hand is worth viewing so that parents can rest assured they’re always doing whatever possible to protect their children from harm.

The FDA outlines two forms of spitting up, one that should prompt parental concern and another that ought to go away once a child gets around the age of a year and a half.  A pediatric gastroenterologist with the agency explains that spitting up is a normal condition among babies.  He points out that the reason for the constant spitting up has to do with a lack of development of the lower esophageal sphincter.  This part of the body, which lies between the stomach and esophagus, can stay open after swallowing and lead the contents of the child’s stomach to head the other way.

Natural development in the child should thus offer protection from the condition over the course of time.  When parents want to try to speed along the process, parents might try providing their children with smaller portions of food or making said food thicker with infant cereal.  An alternate formula might help, as may holding the child upright.

However, these solutions are not going to help if the child suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Unlike regular spitting up, this condition has the potential to actually damage the esophagus’s lining.

Thus, parents will want to be on the lookout for things like a loss of weight or blood either in the baby’s stool or spit.  Excessive coughing should also prompt parental concern.  These issues should be taken seriously by parents.  It’s advisable that children be brought in to see the doctor when they become apparent.

It will be a doctor who outlines the best possible plan of action to reduce the danger moving forward.  In addition to going through a physical exam, doctors will typically ask about the child’s dietary regimen and the rates at which they are spitting up.  A doctor will then prescribe the drugs they see fit to treat the condition.

One course of action the FDA finds inadvisable with normal spitting up is the administration of a Proton Pump Inhibitor.  Prilosec and other products like it are designed to reduce stomach acid and thus heartburn.  But the products are for adults and are not meant to limit spitting up in children.  In fact, the FDA does not approve PPIs for this purpose, and three years ago, an advisory committee concluded that healthy infants ought not to be treated with a PPI unless there is concrete proof that the esophagus’s tissue has eroded.