Skip to Content

Pyloric Stenosis


What is pyloric stenosis?

Pyloric stenosis is a condition that causes narrowing of your baby's pylorus. The pylorus is the muscular opening at the lower end of the stomach that connects to the intestines. Narrowing prevents food from moving from the stomach to the intestines. The cause is unknown.

What increases my baby's risk for pyloric stenosis?

  • First born child
  • Male
  • Family history, especially the parents

What are the signs and symptoms of pyloric stenosis?

  • Vomiting after a feeding that gets worse and happens more often
  • Blood in vomit
  • Hunger after every vomit
  • A lump in your baby's abdomen the size of an olive
  • Decrease in bowel movements
  • Weight loss

How is pyloric stenosis diagnosed?

  • Blood or urine tests will show dehydration and other problems caused by pyloric stenosis.
  • An ultrasound uses sound waves to show the narrowed pylorus and fluid movement into the intestines.
  • Upper GI x-rays may show how fluid flows from the stomach into the intestines. The upper GI includes the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Your baby may drink a barium (chalky contrast agent) to help his organs show up clearly.

How is pyloric stenosis treated?

  • Hydration through an IV is given to your baby. This is used to put fluids, sugar, and salts back into your baby's body.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube is put into your baby's nose, and passes down his throat until it reaches his stomach. Food and medicine may be given through an NG tube if he cannot take anything by mouth. The tube may be attached to suction if your baby's stomach needs to stay empty.
  • Surgery may be needed to cut and loosen the pylorus to allow food to pass through.

When should I contact my baby's healthcare provider?

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby's vomit contains blood, or material that looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your baby is vomiting and cannot keep any liquids down.
  • Your baby has any of the following signs of dehydration:
    • Dry mouth or cracked lips
    • Fast heartbeat or breathing
    • More irritable or fussy than usual
    • Urinating little or not at all
    • Sunken eyes or fontanels (soft spot on the top of the head)

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Pyloric Stenosis

Associated drugs