Of all the scary moments parents experience, invisible illnesses ranks high on the list. Parents have an innate need to solve their baby's problems and keep them from feeling pain. So when they learn that their child is sick, perhaps without exhibiting any severe symptoms, it's enough to send anyone into a panic. Silent reflux is one such illness that many babies suffer from, but one that is sometimes tricky for parents to spot. What is silent reflux exactly? It's important to know the signs so you can spot it if your baby develops the illness.
According to Reflux Infants Support Association Inc (RISA), silent reflux is a gastro-oesophageal complication in which material flows back up the oesophagus but doesn't come out of the child's mouth. They may swallow it, or it won't enter their mouth at all, staying partway in the oesophagus. The site claimed that silent reflux is more dangerous than normal reflux, because the child doesn't vomit or rid themselves of the material, causing it to sit in their system for too long.
More often than not, children with silent reflux are far from silent. They will be obviously uncomfortable or in pain, but without other noticeable symptoms.
According to Today's Parent, reflux generally plagues babies who are eight weeks old or younger. They will have an aversion to eating, arching their backs or refusing to eat. Similarly, their breath may smell foul, and will likely cry after eating.
RISA noted that the absence of vomit or spit up in silent reflux may cause there to be a delay in diagnosis. Similarly, some babies may comfort nurse, and gain weight, but still have the sickness, even though weight loss is a standard symptom doctors look for. Medical intervention or treatment may be necessary, and taking your baby in is always the best way to play it safe.
In other cases, reflux will resolve on its own as your baby's system matures and they grow. However, even though there may be no visible symptoms, it doesn't mean your fussy baby isn't experiencing silent reflux. Knowing the signs is the first step in helping your baby recover from this painful ordeal.