Pyloric stenosis in children
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Pyloric stenosis in children is a disease related to the gastrointestinal tract, causing an electrolyte imbalance in the body that adversely affects the child’s development. Although this pathology does not cause many dangerous complications, it can delay your child’s development if it is not treated early.

Learn about pyloric stenosis in children

Pyloric is the connection between the stomach stem and duodenum. This organ is similar to a muscular valve that helps keep food in the stomach until it is ready to move down the small intestine to continue digestion.

Pyloric stenosis in children
Pyloric stenosis is a disease that occurs mainly in children under 6 months of age


Pyloric stenosis is also known as pyloric obstruction, in which food from the stomach cannot reach the small intestine or very limitedly down. With pyloric stenosis, the pyloric organs are enlarged and thickened, making the amount of food in both liquid and solid form unable to travel from the stomach to the small intestine.

In addition, pyloric stenosis can also cause the stomach to expand, causing fluid and food stagnant in the stomach after 6 hours to still not circulate. This is a common pathology in infants under 6 months old. Children over 6 months old rarely get sick, and moreover, the disease can also occur in adults.

Causes of pyloric stenosis in children

Until now, medical experts have not found the main cause of pyloric stenosis in children. But there are also a few risk factors that can increase your risk of pyloric obstruction:

  • Genetics: If the mother has a history of pyloric stenosis, boys have a 20% chance and girls have a 10% chance of developing the condition.
  • Gender: Pyloric stenosis tends to occur more in boys than in girls.
  • Premature: Premature babies are more likely to develop pyloric stenosis compared to term babies.
  • Race: This condition occurs more commonly in whites of Northern European origin and less commonly in Asians or African-Americans.
  • Smoking during pregnancy: Tobacco smoke contains harmful ingredients that can affect the health of young children, including pyloric stenosis.
  • Use antibiotics: Babies who take antibiotics early will have a higher risk of pyloric stenosis. Not only that, but babies can also suffer from this disease if the mother uses antibiotics in late pregnancy.
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For adults, if suffering from pyloric stenosis, the cause can be due to peptic ulcers, small curvature of the stomach. Because these organs are located near the pylorus, so when the organization of the duodenum is fibrous, it will cause the pylorus to be damaged and narrowed.

Symptoms for pyloric stenosis in children

Pyloric stenosis in babies signs appear in the period from 3 to 5 weeks after birth. These signs will usually manifest as follows:

1. Vomiting after feeding

Due to the thickening of the pyloric wall, the milk cannot move down to the small intestine, leading to a stagnant milk stagnation in the stomach and the baby vomiting after feeding. When it first appears, vomiting is usually mild, but will gradually become worse as the pyloric wall thickens.

When a baby is vomiting, the milk that is vomiting often has an unpleasant odor due to the mixing of stomach acid. But if the case is severe, vomit fluid can accompany blood.

Pyloric stenosis in children
Vomiting after nursing is a warning sign of pyloric stenosis in children

2. Stools show signs of abnormality

Children with pyloric stenosis may be able to excrete less than usual amount of stools. The main reason for this condition is that the amount of food cannot move down the duodenum.

In addition, if the pyloric wall has an abnormal change, the digestive system’s activities will be out of balance. At this time, the child may experience constipation or diarrhea.

3. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of pyloric stenosis. Abdominal pain is caused by undigested food, which causes unpleasant symptoms in the stomach and creates pain. And then, children tend to fussy and cry when pain occurs.

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4. No weight gain or weight loss

Unlike adults, babies and young children tend to gain weight very quickly. In contrast, children with pyloric stenosis tend to be weak, may not gain weight or lose weight rapidly.

In addition, frequent vomiting is also the cause of dehydration, the body becomes tired and the skin is wrinkled than normal.

5. Stomach cramps

You may notice contractions like ripples on your baby’s abdomen right after feeding and before vomiting. This occurs because the amount of food that, when stagnated, causes the stomach wall to contract violently to push food through the pyloric.

6. Persistent hunger

Babies with pyloric stenosis often feel hungry even after they have just eaten. Therefore, babies often want to breastfeed right after vomiting.

Pyloric stenosis in children is dangerous?

For children with pyloric stenosis, if not detected and treated early, it will lead to dangerous complications such as:

  • Dehydration: Usually, a child with pyloric stenosis is an electrolyte imbalance in a child. The reason is that when the baby comes to a meal, he often vomits, making his body dehydrated and causing fatigue.
  • Stomach irritation: Excessive vomiting can cause a child’s stomach to irritate and risk mild bleeding, also known as stomach bleeding.
  • Jaundice: This complication is relatively rare, but a bilirubin secretion by the liver can cause accumulation and discoloration of the skin and eyes yellow.
  • Another complication: Pyloric stenosis will make your child not want to have a bowel movement. If this condition lasts for a long time, there will be a risk of constipation, making it difficult for the child to defecate. Moreover, it also puts children at risk for other diseases such as stomach pain , hemorrhoids.

Diagnosis of pyloric stenosis in children

If you find that your child has these abnormal signs, parents need to quickly bring the child to visit. To accurately determine the pathology that the child is suffering from, doctors will perform a clinical examination and do necessary tests to serve the diagnostic process, specifically:

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging will make it easier for the doctor to observe the pyloric abnormalities. To ensure the clearest possible picture is obtained, a doctor will prescribe no food before performing a diagnostic ultrasound.
  • Blood test: Pyloric stenosis will dehydrate your baby. That is why the doctor will ask the child to perform a blood test to check the level of electrolyte components in the body.
  • Identifying tumors in the abdomen: Children with pyloric stenosis will have a small, hard tumor with the size of an olive.
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Treatment of pyloric stenosis in young children

Through the implementation of tests to diagnose, children with microstructive stenosis will be prescribed treatment by the doctor with the following methods:

  • Medical treatment: This method will be treated by the doctor will infuse fluids and electrolytes into the cardiac muscle to improve the patient’s resistance. In addition, pediatric patients are also indicated to use anti-secretory drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs if detected in an early stage.
  • Pyloric opening surgery: The doctor will appoint a pediatric pyloric opening surgery to cut the swollen and thick muscle out of the body. After the surgery, about 6-8 hours, the child can eat and drink normally.
  • Endoscopy: This procedure is done by the doctor by placing a tube with a balloon attached to the top of the stomach to pass through the mouth. And then pump that balloon up to stretch the pyloric muscles so that the pylorus will expand.
Pyloric stenosis in children
Surgery is the most commonly used method and provides quick treatment results

Besides the above cases, the currently used treatment method is to conduct surgery. Because this treatment will deliver results quickly, helping to prevent the risk of recurrence. However, before performing surgery, the child will be noted a number of issues as follows:

  • The pediatric patient will have to clean the stomach to absorb gastric juice.
  • Infusion of sweet serum helps to energize children.
  • Give electrolyte fluids to replace lost body fluids.
  • Transfusion and protein supplement if needed.

Problems to note after pyloric stenosis treatment in children

After the treatment at the hospital, parents need to keep an eye on the child’s recovery by:

  • If your child feels uncomfortable, you should place a warm bag over the incision.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you notice signs of swelling, redness, bleeding, or your child is still vomiting, has lost weight, is tired and has not had a bowel movement for a few days in a row.
  • Follow-up visit according to the doctor’s appointment to monitor the health status and progress of the disease.

Above is the basic information about pyloric stenosis in children that parents can refer to. This article is for reference only and does not provide any substitute advice for the doctor’s prescription. Therefore, when detecting that a child has unusual signs, parents should bring the child to visit for an appropriate treatment regimen.


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