Reflux affects up to half of premature babies. In preterm infants, the most common causes of reflux are immature muscles and abnormal breathing from chronic lung disease. If the lower esophageal sphincter is weak or underdeveloped, it can remain open when it should be closed, letting the stomach contents flow back up the esophagus. Typically a preemie will grow out of this condition over time. Positioning can help alleviate some of the discomfort. Medications may also be prescribed to help with the side effects.
This bead represents the preemie’s fight against this very uncomfortable and difficult condition.