Pyloric stenosis is a problem with the lower part of a newborn baby’s stomach. It can make it hard for the baby to keep food down.
Other terms for this problem are infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis or gastric outlet obstruction.
Pyloric stenosis happens when the passage at the lower part of the stomach (called the pylorus) is too narrow for milk to pass through into the small intestine. Normally, the muscle at the end of the stomach contracts to keep food in the stomach and then the muscle relaxes to let food out of the stomach. When a child has pyloric stenosis, the muscle is too big and doesn't relax well.
Doctors don’t know why the muscle gets large and doesn’t relax well. Firstborn boys are more likely to have this problem. It also tends to run in families.
Symptoms of pyloric stenosis generally start around 3 weeks of age. They include:
The healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:
Your baby will need an operation called a pyloromyotomy. During the surgery, your child’s healthcare provider will cut through the thickened muscle between the stomach and small intestine. This will 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.