Pyloric Stenosis

Cross section of stomach showing pyloric stenosis.

The pylorus is the opening between the stomach and the small intestine. Food passes out of the stomach through this opening. Pyloric stenosis is narrowing of this opening. This can block the passage of food out of the stomach.

The problem is often first seen in young infants. The infant may start vomiting after feeding. The vomiting may be very forceful (projectile vomiting).

To check for this condition, an ultrasound may be done. This test uses painless sound waves to create an image of the child’s stomach and intestine.

If pyloric stenosis is found, it is usually treated with surgery. This widens the opening and corrects the problem.

Home care

To help prevent vomiting after feedings:

  • Burp your infant several times during and after feeding.

  • Don't feed your infant lying down.

  • Don't overfeed. Wait at least 2-3 hours between feedings. This prevents pressure on the stomach opening. 

  • Keep your infant in an upright position during feeding and for a half hour after each feeding. You can use a front-pack, backpack, infant swing or infant car seat to keep your baby upright.

  • Don't put tight diapers on your child. They put pressure on the abdomen.

  • Lay your infant on his back or side to sleep. Never put your baby to sleep on his stomach.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call the healthcare provider if your infant has any of the following:

  • Severe coughing spell or trouble breathing

  • Unusual fussiness or drowsiness 

  • Signs of dehydration, including no wet diapers for 8 hours, no tears when crying, sunken eyes or dry mouth

  • Watery or bloody diarrhea

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

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