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.