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Acid Reflux in Children

Baby Wellness: Think It's Colic? Maybe It's Just Acid Reflux

Too many parents are familiar with the wretched screams a child makes when diagnosed with colic. For ages, children have been labeled colicky when no other term would fit a fussy baby. Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal presents another option that distraught parents may want to note.

For infants who spit up constantly, stop gaining weight, vomit blood or refuse to feed at all, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may be a diagnosis. Instead of, or sometimes in addition to, treating a babe for colic, many doctors are prescribing acid–reducing drugs to tots suffering from GERD. Not surprisingly, there are some who believe doctors are throwing the term GERD around too loosely.

To see what one pediatric gastroenterologist's point of view is on it,


Melinda Beck found one believer who happens to have a credible background:

Bryan Vartabedian, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children's Hospital, had an epiphany when his own irritable baby improved dramatically when she was treated for reflux. He thinks about half of what's considered colic may actually be undiagnosed GERD. "We should be looking for signs of treatable conditions so babies aren't suffering needlessly," he says.

In the event that my next child is colicky, I will be sure to ask our pediatrician about GERD as an option.

Join The Conversation
macgirl macgirl 8 years
When I took my baby in and said "he has HORRIBLE colic" my ped suspected GERD but made us try different solutions before he was willing to prescribe us meds (I actually didn't know it was treatable at first). While I appreciate him not jumping to shove meds into my little baby I just wish I could have gotten him on them a tiny bit sooner as they made such a HUGE difference in him feeling better. He's still on them and my ped is hoping he will grow out of this soon now that he just started solids.
MaggieLei MaggieLei 8 years
What we thought was colic ended up being a milk sensitivity- which is really common too. I had to go off all dairy while I was breastfeeding. It was difficult, but so worth it to not have the months of screaming!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I've found the opposite as the "some peds" statement - getting a doctor to diagnose and treat GERD is very difficult, which is highly unfortunate. Babies and parents are so much better off with treatment.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
schnappycat, we could be twins! LOL! Same exact experience!
schnappycat schnappycat 8 years
Yep, this happened to us. We were told our son was colicky and I was prepared for a few hellish months, but after a couple of weeks my husband and I figured out he had reflux instead. Once we took some steps to help him (medicine, new formula, upright feeding, etc.) he got much better. (He was also just generally a bit "fussy" as well, but swaddling helped with that.) So no colic and just a combination of a few things helped us immensely. Phew!
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