Pyloric Stenosis is a medical condition that generally affects very young children, usually a few weeks after birth. It is essentially an overdeveloped gastrointestinal tract that causes muscle overlapping.This condition also has another sub-type that affects adults, but it is completely different in nature and risk. Pyloric Stenosis causes extreme vomiting in infants, which leads to dehydration and sickness. This condition may occur due to a genetic problem. In terms of infants that develop this disease, males are more likely to get it than females are. Since the waste outlets are usually obstructed, the infant’s only method for eliminating food is through vomit and urine. When an infant has this condition he or she is likely to excrete significant amounts of potassium. This can cause further complications if it isn’t treated properly.
When adults develop this condition they usually go untreated or diagnosed. Many adults do not see it as a serious concern. When it is diagnosed then the adult is usually treated and back to normal quickly without any complicated procedures. Treatment is not very difficult and can lead to recovery in a small amount of time. Since adults are very unlikely to develop this affliction, it may go misdiagnosed when it does occur in the small percentage that it does. Making sure to voice concerns for the affliction will help to persuade the doctor to examine more closely and run tests which could provide insight into the possibility of adult pyloric stenosis.
Symptoms of Children with Pyloric Stenosis
Since babies cannot communicate the pain and discomfort of a medical condition, you must look for certain signs that point directly to a condition that may raise concern. Pyloric Stenonsis will cause constant vomiting. A baby may vomit once a week or so, but more often than that is something to be alarmed over. The difference is that the “spit up” from a healthy baby is small and harmless. When a baby sick with Pyloric Stenosis vomits often, it is much like projectile vomiting. The most dangerous part of this condition isn’t the vomiting itself, but the dehydration that occurs because of it. If your baby is constantly vomiting and having trouble eating, then this condition may be to blame. The baby may also want to constantly eat and appear to never be satisfied. Diarrhea is a common symptom as well, and the stool may be more watery than solid.
Undergoing the Diagnosis Process
Doctors automatically check newborns for common health problems at birth, however pyloric stenosis may not be evident immediately. In most cases the baby may go a few weeks before exhibiting signs of this condition. In small cases it will show signs of the condition immediately. A doctor will begin by performing a simple exam of the torso area. He will gently press around the stomach and intestine area to spot any abnormalities. If a problem is found then he will then do one of two things.
An ultrasound is the first option, since it is easy to perform and painless. Another option is to have the child drink a special liquid that will make any problems in the stomach and intestine area visible. Many times the use of a barium suspension is used to show the digestive tract in the baby. The doctor will then perform an x-ray. The latter is not recommended due to high radiation and the risks associated with them. Since these types of diagnosis methods are more successful, they are often performed instead of invasive, exploratory surgery.
Blood tests are highly recommended so that the doctor can accurately determine the status of the child’s electrolytes and nutrients. If the baby is lacking in anything he will need to administer an IV to return to the child to a normal state. Getting the proper treatment is crucial to helping the baby regain normality and keep them strong enough to survive infancy.
Helping Your Child Get Proper Treatment
Essentially treatment is completely up to the parent of an infant with this condition. It may be considered neglect if a parent bypasses treatment when the child is clearly at risk. There are two treatment options. One is through surgery, which is most commonly used to treat babies with this condition. Some children are born with a very mild case and can be treated through a liquid medicine rather than surgery. Before surgery the baby will be given an IV to help it return to a normal balance of nutrients and salts. This will prepare it for surgery so that no sickness or risks occur. Continuing without the use of an IV to reintroduce fluids and minerals into the body can lead to serious complications during surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is when the doctor makes very small incisions around the area and uses minute tools to get inside the necessary area for reconstruction. A very small scope is used to display the insides to the surgeon, while he works with tiny tools to perform the necessary procedure. This is non-invasive and usually painless. Patients that undergo laparoscopic surgeries are less likely to get infections, and heal much quicker because the intrusion is minimal.
A regular incision can be made as well, and the cut is generally an inch long. This isn’t much different from a laparoscopic surgery, but it may leave a bigger scar. Both types of surgery are safe and the scar will probably fade as the child ages. The same is done with this method by using tools to reconstruct the obstructed muscles and create the proper flow of bodily function through the abdomen and intestines. Not fixing this problem will usually cause a great deal of discomfort for the baby and could potentially be fatal.
The majority of infants that undergo this sort of treatment for pyloric stenosis recover quickly. A small percentage of children with this condition may require a second surgery if the projectile vomiting continues. Thanks to modern technology very few deaths are associated with this condition, and the baby will be able to continue a normal healthy life. After treatment the child can return to eating and living normally.
Prognosis for Patients Afflicted by Pyloric Stenosis
Usually with the proper treatment, a child could expect to live a healthy normal life. Recovery is not very difficult because babies are often not mobile enough to cause damage to the area of surgery. The healing process could only be a few days and the only return visit to a doctor would be to simply remove stitches if not sealed with liquid stitches. This leaves a patient with pyloric stenosis with a positive outlook on their recovery if they are treated in time.
Those who are not treated for pyloric stenosis may have extreme complications. The result of not getting treatment can lead to the baby wasting away because they are unable to receive the proper nutrients from feeding. The constant vomiting can be very disruptive to their digestive tracts and cause painful inflammation to their esophagus and nasal cavities. The loss of water and mineral content such as potassium can cause serious complications in the future as well. Since the babies will most likely be under weight, they could be at risk of death from dehydration and malnutrition.