Pyloric Stenosis

1 What is Pyloric Stenosis?

An uncommon condition in babies that blocks food from getting into their small intestine is called pyloric stenosis. The pylorus which is located between the stomach and small intestine holds the food in the stomach before the next stage in the digestive process. When the muscles thicken and become abnormally large that can lead to blocking of food from reaching the small intestine, pyloric stenosis occurs.

Surgery is the treatment for this condition. This condition can lead to dehydration, vomiting or weight loss and infants with this condition might seem to be hungry all the time and rare for babies older than 3 months.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of pyloric stenosis include:

  • persistent hunger – most of the time they want to eat after vomiting
  • vomiting after feeding – the baby may have projectile vomiting, at first it is mild then will gradually become severe as the pylorus opening narrows and sometimes blood will be in it
  • dehydration – crying without tears or will become lethargic
  • stomach contractions – this may happen after feeding but not before vomiting
  • weight problems – your baby will not gain weight or may even have weight loss
  • changes in bowel movements – your baby might be constipated because this condition prevents food from reaching the intestines

3 Causes

The cause is unknown for pyloric stenosis but environmental and genetic factors may be the cause. This condition is not present at birth.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of pyloric stenosis is done by your doctor will first conduct a physical exam to examine your baby. Then you may undergo some tests such as:

  • blood tests to check for electrolyte imbalance or dehydration,
  • x-ray of your baby’s digestive system,
  • ultrasound to check the pylorus.

5 Treatment

The treatment of pyloric stenosis is surgery which is called pyloromyotomy. Your baby can have fluid replacement first before the surgery if your baby is dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance. The surgeon will make an incision through the outside layer of the pylorus muscle that will allow the inner lining to come out, this can open a channel for food to pass.

An instrument called laparoscope will be inserted through a small cut near the navel of the baby. After the surgery, your baby may want to feed more often. Your baby will be given intravenous fluids until he can eat, you can start feeding him again within 12 to 24 hours. Some vomiting may still continue after a few days of surgery. Infection and bleeding may be complications after the surgery.

6 Prevention

Preventing pyloric stenosis is not possible but if you know the symptoms you might help your child get the care that he needs and you may prevent complications such as:

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

These following homeopathic remedies for pyloric stenosis are used by homeopathic doctors such as:

  • Antimonium crudum – for irritated babies who are vomiting of curdled milk,
  • Phosphorus – for mild mannered babies who have violent vomiting,
  • Silica – for babies who have slow development and delicate constitution,
  • Bryonia – for sensitive stomachs.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

After the treatment of pyloric stenosis lifestyle modifications are needed for your baby.

After the treatment, your doctor may recommend that you continue to give your baby pain reliever because their stomach may still be painful after two to three days.

Your doctor will tell you if it is okay for you to give your baby a bath and keep an eye on the wound to check if there are signs of infection.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with pyloric stenosis.

The risk factors include:

  • Sex – this is more often in boys most especially firstborn children
  • Race – more common in Caucasians of northern European ancestry and less common in African-Americans and rare in Asians
  • Premature birth – babies who are born prematurely
  • Family history – about 20 percent of male and 10 percent of female descendants of mothers who had this condition
  • Smoking while pregnant
  • Babies who are given early antibiotic
  • Mothers who are taking certain antibiotics in late pregnancy
  • If your baby is bottle-feeding

Some complications include:

  • Dehydration – because of frequent vomiting and a mineral imbalance
  • Failure to grow and develop
  • Stomach irritation that can cause mild bleeding
  • Jaundice – a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes because of the bilirubin which is a substance secreted by the liver, but very rare