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  • Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Cause of Breathing Problems in Children

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux:
    A Cause of Breathing Problems in Children

    In This Article

    Does Your Child Show Signs of Reflux?

    Diagnosing Reflux in Babies and Children

    Treating Gastroeshageal Reflux in Babies and Children

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    Gastroesophageal reflux happens when food that has been swallowed comes back up from the stomach and into the esophagus. Children and adults have some reflux every day. When a baby spits up, that is reflux. Reflux often causes no problems or pain. In fact, most of the time we don't know when it happens. Reflux is a concern only when there is too much of it or it causes problems.

    What causes reflux?

    Most of the time, when we swallow, food goes down the throat through the esophagus and into the stomach. The esophageal sphincter is a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that relaxes so food can enter the stomach. This muscle closes to keep stomach contents from going back into the esophagus. Reflux may occur if this muscle relaxes at the wrong time or relaxes too much. The stomach makes acid to help digest the food we eat. When someone has reflux, the acid comes up along with the food. The esophagus or the airway may become irritated.

    How does gastroesophageal reflux cause breathing problems?

    When the stomach contents go back up the esophagus, the contents may enter the nose, trachea (windpipe) or lungs. Aspiration occurs when stomach contents, liquids or food enters the lungs.

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