Pyloric stenosis is a problem with the lower part of a baby’s stomach. The muscle of the lower part of the stomach (called the pylorus) gets too large and blocks the passageway into the small intestine. This makes it hard for the baby to keep food down.
Another term for this problem is gastric outlet obstruction.
Normally, the muscle at the end of the stomach tightens to keep food in the stomach and then relaxes to let food out of the stomach and into the intestines. When a child has pyloric stenosis, the muscle is much bigger than normal and doesn't relax well. Why the muscle gets large and doesn’t relax well is not known.
Firstborn boys are more likely to have this problem. It also tends to run in families.
Symptoms of pyloric stenosis usually start around 3 weeks of age. They may include:
The symptoms of pyloric stenosis may be mild at first. Talk to your healthcare provider if your baby is spitting up often.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child may have tests to check for pyloric stenosis and other problems. Tests may include:
If the ultrasound does not clearly show the problem, your baby may need other tests or scans to find what is causing your child’s symptoms.
Your baby will need surgery to loosen the muscle so that food will be able to pass more easily into the small intestine.
Babies can usually eat soon after the surgery.
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.