Why is my baby spitting out milk
If the baby vomits after drinking
Causes and triggers are still unclear
The symptoms appear in the first six weeks of life, boys are five times more likely to be affected than girls. In contrast to northern and western Europeans, the disease occurs very rarely in Asians and Africans. Why this is so and what causes and triggering factors exist for pyloric stenosis is largely unclear. "Experts are still discussing the extent to which genes actually play a role," says Degenhardt.
The constriction at the stomach outlet is diagnosed with an ultrasound examination. Some paediatricians can measure the wall thickness of the sphincter muscle directly in their practice with an ultrasound device, others refer the children to a specialist or to the hospital for further clarification. An X-ray examination is only necessary very rarely.
Affected babies lose a lot of fluids
"The dangerous thing about the disease is that the babies lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes in a very short time," says Petra Zieriacks. This quickly becomes noticeable in a deterioration in their general condition. "In the worst case, the little ones can dry out," warns Zieriacks. This is a life-threatening situation for babies.
Prompt treatment is therefore extremely important. "Surgery is always necessary for pyloric stenosis," says Petra Degenhardt. As a rule, the operation is carried out the day after the diagnosis. "However, if the children are already doing very badly, they first have to regain their strength and are nurtured, for example with electrolyte solutions," explains the expert.
This is how the operation works
During the procedure, the muscles at the exit of the stomach are divided lengthways without damaging the gastric mucosa. The surgeon pulls the muscle ring apart, thereby increasing the diameter at the exit of the stomach (see infographic). This means that the food can be transported on again unhindered. The procedure is carried out through a small incision in the navel or using the keyhole method, i.e. through the smallest openings in the abdominal wall. Which technology is used depends primarily on the surgeon's experience, but neither method has decisive advantages or disadvantages compared to the other, says Degenhardt.
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