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Pyloric stenosis is a
problem with a baby's stomach that causes forceful vomiting. It happens when
the baby's pylorus, which connects the stomach and the small intestine, swells
and thickens. This can keep food from moving into the
A baby may get pyloric
stenosis anytime between birth and 5 months of age. Boys are more likely than girls to get it. It usually starts about 3
weeks after birth. If your baby was born early (premature), symptoms may start
Experts don't know what causes pyloric stenosis. It may be passed down through families.
A baby with pyloric stenosis may:
starts gradually. As the pylorus becomes tighter, the
vomiting may become more frequent and more forceful.
As the vomiting continues, your baby may:
will do a physical exam and ask about your baby's symptoms. If your baby has pyloric stenosis, the doctor may be able to feel a small lump in the upper part of the belly.
In some cases your baby may
need imaging tests, such as an
upper GI (gastrointestinal) series or an
abdominal ultrasound. Your baby also may need blood
tests to see if he or she is dehydrated.
Pyloric stenosis is treated
with surgery to widen the opening between the stomach and the small intestine. Surgery rarely causes problems, and almost
all babies recover completely. After surgery, your baby probably won't get
pyloric stenosis again.
Your baby likely will be ready to go home within 2 days after surgery. Being involved in your baby's care while he or she is in the hospital may help you feel more comfortable when you take your baby home. Talk with the doctor about how to feed your baby and what to expect. It's normal to feel nervous, but don't be afraid to hold and handle your baby.
Learning about pyloric stenosis:
Other Works Consulted
Greenup RA, Calkins CM (2011). Infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph’s Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 1420–1421. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hunter AK, Liacouras CA (2011). Pyloric stenosis and other congenital anomalies of the stomach. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 1274–1276. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Middlesworth W, Kadenhe-Chiweshe A (2006). Neonatal
intestinal obstruction. In FD Burg et al., eds., Current Pediatric Therapy, 18th ed., pp. 289–293. Philadelphia: Saunders
Semrin MG, Russo MA (2010). Anatomy, histology, embryology, and developmental anomalies of the stomach and duodenum. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 773–788. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Sundaram S, et al. (2011). Gastrointestinal tract. In WW Hay et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 595–630. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerBrad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery
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