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When To Be Concerned About Spit Up

by Annabel Caldwell
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When To Be Concerned About Spit Up

When To Be Concerned About Spit Up

However, you should contact your doctor if you notice your baby: Is not gaining weight. Spits up a large amount of milk (more than 1 or 2 tablespoons). Spits up or vomits forcefully.

Spit-up is the term to describe what comes out of your child’s mouth when he/she coughs or sputters while drinking. The most common causes for this are reflux disease and swallowing air.
Reflux disease occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and throat from the lower part of the digestive tract, usually because of incorrect positioning of the infant during feeding. This can result in severe pain on the chest, which may cause irritability in children. In addition, it is also associated with vomiting and poor growth. If there is no improvement after three weeks of proper treatment, then probably the problem is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Swallowing air is the second reason why babies regurgitate food, other than being full. Swallowing air happens when an infant swallows air accidentally while eating. Air enters the windpipe and inflates the lungs. As a result, the diaphragm starts pressing against the chest cavity, causing coughing. Once the infant becomes accustomed to breathing through his nose, the problem subsides within two months. However, until that time, you need to watch closely whether the child has difficulty in taking breaths. A sudden increase in spitting up could be a sign of choking. Therefore, you must immediately take action.
You should contact your doctor if you notice your baby:
Is not gaining weight.
Spits up a large amount of milk (more than 1 or 2 tablespoons).
Spits up or vomits forcefully.
Has blood coming out of the mouth.
Has a hard lump in the throat.
Doesn’t want to eat.
Is crying without any apparent reason.
Is unable to drink water.
Is not sleeping well at night.
The first step would be to have your child checked by a pediatrician so as to rule out any organic problems. It is important to note that the symptoms above do not necessarily mean that your child has swallowed air or that your child has reflux disease. You should consult your physician before making any decision regarding medication.
There are several things you can do to help your child overcome this problem. One of them is to make sure the bottle doesn’t tilt too far forward. Also, avoid using wide-neck bottles, especially plastic ones. When feeding your baby, don’t allow him to swallow more air than necessary. Keep burping him after each meal. Never give your baby anything to eat or drink that may trigger coughing such as popcorn, chips, ice cream, etc., even if they seem tasty to you. Make sure your baby drinks only safe liquids like breastmilk, formula, juice, pureed vegetables, etc.
If the problem persists, you can try some home remedies. For example, rub your baby’s chest gently with oil or mustard powder. You can also use honey mixed with salt to relieve discomfort. Do not press hard on the chest area.
In case your child still experiences these difficulties, you should see a medical professional right away. While your child is under the care of a physician, you will be able to find answers to the following questions:
1) What type of fluid does your child actually have trouble consuming?
2) How often does your child spit up?
3) Are you experiencing other symptoms besides spitting up?
4) Does your child have allergies?
5) Is your child receiving all recommended vaccinations?
6) Has your child had surgery recently?
7) Have you changed jobs recently?
8) Does smoking affect your child?
9) Does your child have diabetes?
10) Any other special health conditions?
Your doctor will also ask about your diet, how much breastfeeding you are doing, how many glasses of fluids your child consumes daily, and similar information. Based on these findings, your physician will determine the best course of action. Your pediatrician will recommend appropriate treatments based on your child’s age and condition.
Even though the majority of spit ups happen in infants who are less than 6 months old, parents of older kids should know that their children might experience this issue, too. There are various reasons why adolescents get spit up. Some of them include:
– Eating too fast or chewing food very slowly
– Drinking too much soda pop or alcohol
– Having an upset stomach or nausea
– Being sick
These issues can lead to excessive saliva production and reflux, among other complications. If your adolescent is having serious bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, she may have been ingesting something toxic. So, take her to a doctor as soon as possible.
Now that we’ve discussed spit up in both young and older infants, let’s learn about the different types of spit ups experienced by adults.
Types of Adult Spit Ups
As mentioned earlier, adult spit ups can occur due to many factors. Let’s review some of them.
1) Dry Mouth Spit Ups – Dry mouth spit ups are quite common among people who suffer from chronic illnesses such as Sjögren syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases, liver disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, dementia, Alzheimer’s, emphysema, asthma, psoriasis and others. People suffering from dry mouth will feel soreness around the mouth area and may experience burning sensation. They may also experience difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Their drooling can also contribute to dry mouth spit ups.
People who have undergone radiation therapy for head and neck cancers may also experience dry mouth spit ups.
2) Saliva Dumps – These are spit ups caused by hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism increases the secretion of thyroid hormone in the body. Thyroid hormones play an essential role in regulating metabolism and controlling cellular processes in almost every organ of the human body. Hence, this leads to increased metabolic rate. Increased metabolic rate results in rapid breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. This causes dehydration of the patient. Since the body tries to compensate for the loss of fluids, it releases excess thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. The high level of thyroid hormone in the blood triggers overproduction of extra thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The overproduced thyroid hormone travels through the bloodstream and attaches itself to receptors located in the cells. Once inside the cell, it activates certain genes that are responsible for producing more of thyroid hormone. Thus, the cycle continues leading to excessive amounts of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood stream.
3) Heartburn Spit Ups – Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn, refers to the backward flow of gastric contents into the esophagus. GERD affects approximately 20 percent of Americans. Heartburn is the primary symptom associated with GERD. Other symptoms include indigestion, abdominal pain and flatulence.
Heartburn is often described as a burning sensation radiating from the chest into the upper abdomen. Although heartburn is typically mild, it can be accompanied by nausea, bloating, gas, belching, and sour taste in the mouth. It may also be accompanied by a variety of painful ailments including shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and persistent cough.
4) Food Coughs – Food coughs are another type of spit up experienced by adults. Food coughs are characterized by forceful coughing episodes brought on by food particles lodged in the trachea and bronchi.
Foods that cause food coughs vary depending upon the individual person and the region where he lives. Common foods that cause food coughs include beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, cereals, wheat germ, corn, rice, pasta, raw fruits and vegetables, oils, margarine, butter, cheese, eggs, pork, beef, and poultry products. Certain medications used to treat gastrointestinal disorders can also trigger food coughs.
5) Laryngitis – Laryngitis is a swelling of the vocal cords. It is commonly seen in patients who smoke tobacco. Smoking causes damage to the cilia lining of the trachea. Tobacco smokers are prone to develop infections of the voice box. The infection is known as acute laryngitis. Patients suffering from acute laryngitis complain of hoarseness, sore throat, and feeling of suffocation.
Acute laryngitis is treated with antibiotics and antihistamines. Other measures taken include gargling with warm water to wash off mucus buildup, avoid talking, resting the voice, avoiding alcohol consumption, and reducing stress levels.
6) Bronchial Asthma – In cases of bronchial asthma, the airways become inflamed. Inflammation of the respiratory tracts narrows the passageways. As a result, mucus accumulates in the air passages. Mucus reduces the efficiency of oxygen exchange between the atmosphere and the tissues. Bacteria present in the mucus produce toxins that further aggravate inflammation. The toxin-producing bacteria release inflammatory agents called leukotrienes. Leukotrienes irritate smooth muscle tissue in the walls of air passages. Smooth muscles contract involuntarily and expel air containing toxins into the environment.

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