18 answers

3 Year Old with Cottage Cheese like Reflux

My 3 year has had trouble with reflux since she was a newborn. She was born with laryngomalacia (which she out grew but still hasn't out grown the reflux.) After months of switching formulas and medicines we finally found that soy formula and Prevacid worked for her.

Now that she's a toddler the reflux is back. A year ago (2 years old) she was choking on food that she ate 2 to 3 hours before. She was getting stuck in her esophagus. She would also have wet burps that looked like cottage cheese. A endoscopy was performed to see if there was any damage to her esophagus. They also ran a ton of tests to see if there were any other problems that could be causing her food not to stay in her stomach. Everything came back normal. They wanted to do a swallowing study but we decided not to put her through anymore tests and just put her back on Prevacid and I switched her to skim milk instead of 2%.

Now it's 6 months later and she's having problems again with the wet burbs and constipation. I feel so sorry for her. She always says her stomach hurts. And she has horrible vomit breath. Her behavior changes too. She is "out of control" where she can't sit still and she has trouble falling asleep.

I took her to her doctor yesterday and he's going to try doubling her Prevacid from 15ml to 30ml and I am to give her Miralax 2 tea. a day. He thinks that she is holding her BMs in because she is "afraid to poo poo b/c it hurts" and it's making her relfux worse. Her BMs hurt b/c they are enormous! And rock hard.

My question is....does anyone else have this problem? Other than this my daughter is very healthy. She's in her 85% in height and weight. So she's gaining weight.

I'm so sick of seeing my daughter have to deal with this. And it's costing us a fortune in medical bills. I don't understand why it's so hard for doctors and specialists to figure out what is wrong? She's seen an ENT, a GI, and a ton of pediatric doctors.

I'm assuming that she doesn't have a milk allergy. They said they ran tests when they did the scope. I called today to see what exactly she was tested for.

Right now I don't know else to do. I'm just afraid it's going to cause long term damage to her stomach, esophagus or her teeth.

I also wanted to add that she has 4 ear infections in the last 4 months. The pedatrician said that the ear infections have nothing to go with her GERD. And he never gave me an answer of why. I could have sworn that her ENT told me that children with GERD have more ear infections. Maybe I'm wrong? Should I take her back to her ENT or her GI?? The appointments are very expensive and I seem to get no where. They are at Cincinnati Children's Hospital which is one of the best hospitals in the country.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi! I wanted to thank all of you that responded. I took your advise and switch her to lactose free milk. Well it WORKED!!!!!!!!!!! She doesn't have any problems now! The only time she has the sour breath/cottage cheese like reflux is after she eats ice cream! It's hard when we are out and everyone is getting ice cream and she can't. So I let her have a little now and again. She's still on her Prevacid though. I haven't got her tested yet to see if she is lactose intolerant but I think this proves that she does have some problems digesting milk. I just want to thank you all for your help!!!!!

Featured Answers

I would try taking her off of dairy anyway - see what happens. It's at least worth a try. My son is off dairy and loves Almond Milk! It's really good.

More Answers

my son is now 5 yrs old and he can only have very limited dairy products or his stomach goes haywire. the milk i buy for him is called lactaid, it's not soy, it milk without the lactose. you can also ask your doctor if nexium would be better. prevacid wasn't meantto be taken long term as we found out from his stomach specialist. also one of the side effects of prevacid is constipation & abdominal pains. you can also see if she can take reglan, it's great for acid reflux, it can only be taken in 2 week intervals with a couple months between. hope it helps.

3 moms found this helpful

Eliminate the dairy, my son had reflux as an infant and we had to do the soy formula as well, along with prevacid and while he outgrew it he still can not have dairy or his symptoms return. I would suggest switching from cows milk to just about anything else before going straight to soy milk though, they have done studies that suggest to much soy is bad for you. good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I haven't had to deal with the reflux, but I have to kids that have had a milk allergy. My son could tolerate yogurt and cheese and I gave him the lactaid. My daughter couldn't handle any of that stuff. I had to put her on soy milk and it made her a totally different girl. I would put her back on the soy milk and take all dairy products away. Go to godairyfree.com and they have a check list of all of the hidden dairy in foods. It is a really long list. Mcdonalds french fries have a dairy based preservative in the seasoning. I would do that and if it is a dairy allergy then you should see improvement in a few days. How old was you daughter when they did the allergy tests? My son didn't show any symptoms until he was a year old and I had switched him to whole milk. He was never tested, but after dealing with my daughters allergy, he had a lot of the symptoms. My daughter cried from the day she was born. I breastfed and they told me to try removing all dairy, but I didn't realize how much dairy was in the foods that I thought there was no dairy in. My daughter was a year old before she was tested for allergies to common foods. This took me switching doctors and insisting that there was something wrong with her at the first visit. If you are not happy with what your current doctor is doing, get a second opinion and let them know that you feel that there is more going on. I could have kicked myself for waiting so long to get a second opinion. good luck

2 moms found this helpful

Hi C.,

I'm sorry to hear that your daughter is having these problems. I cannot say that my symptoms were exactly like what you are describing of hers but very similar. At age 18, I went through a lot of the tests you are describing and more, but no doctors in the area could find anything definitively wrong with me. It wasn't until I saw a specialist at IUPUI that I was diagnosed with achalasia (a rare disorder of the esophagus.) I'm not sure if your insurance would cover it, but the doctors there are fabulous. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

C., it sounds like your daughter is likely suffering from an undiagnosed food allergy -- and most kids w/ reflux and GERD *also* have food allergies of some sort which even worsen the symptoms of their GERD.

If it were my daughter, I'd do a temporary trial of removing *all* cow's milk proteins for a period of 4-6 weeks (that includes reading labels and avoiding foods w/ ingredients like milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, whey, casein, etc.) and watching closely to see if the symptoms you're describing get better (vomit-y reflux, constipation, sleep issues, etc.).

I think Dr. Sears (pediatrician) has a wonderful intro on his site called "Tracking Down Food Allergies" that is very worth reading:

And I think it is *really* important to know that the only DEFINITIVE way to tell if a person is truly allergic to a certain food is to:
1) *eliminate it completely* from their diet for a period of time (minimum 4 weeks, IMO)
2) note symptoms (improving? a lot? a little? not at all?)
3) reintroduce the food (called doing a "challenge") -- again, watching symptoms (were they gone and now they're back?)

There are skin tests and blood tests for allergies, but the true test is eliminate/challenge.

Food allergies often go misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed, but they can wreck a LOT of havoc on a kid's body and behavior, and parents *know* something's not right but they can't really put their finger on it... so see what you think! Read a little bit more about food allergies to see if you think this is something that would be affecting your daughter.

In addition to the link I gave you above to pediatrician Dr. Sears' site, there's a book you can check out of the library for free written by a pediatric allergist named Dr. Doris Rapp, MD - the title is "Is This Your Child?" and it's all about kids and food allergies.

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Try visiting this website, hopefully this will answer some of your questions.http://heartburn.about.com/od/infantschildrenandreflux/a/...

1 mom found this helpful

I have an almost three year old. He was born with severe GERD (on prevacid at 4 weeks after 3 other drugs did nothing). He continued on prevacid through his first birthday. He still has occasional reflux flair ups - colds are one culprit. We also noticed that dairy causes his symptoms to return. We have switched him to skim milk, and limit him to one other dairy item per day. Doing this, we have been able to control his reflux without adding medication. He has had MANY ear infections - in fact he had tubes put in at 7 months. Since then, he's been ear infection free. Both the ped and ent told us that reflux can cause ear infections because the eustachian tubes can become irriated by stomach acid - I hope this helps a little.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.!

I know you have had lots of great responses already, but wanted you to know that my 2nd son had similar issues. As far as the poop would go, he was either really constipated or terrible diahrea. He had been diagnosed with reflux disease as a baby and was on meds (that didn't really help) and then around 2-3 it got worse again. Throwing up and diahrea regularly. I kept taking him to the dr. and they kept saying it was the residual affect from the roto virus we had had months before. I knew something wasn't right. Tons of ear infections, tubes in his ears, etc. Finally, we stumbled on the fact that I had food allergies (did not know all this time) and that brought me to taking him to the allergist. All along, these health issues were food allergies. His worst is Corn. This can be corn syrup, or dextrose, or maltodextrin, or, or, or, or. There are two pages of typed words that are corn derivatives to avoid. So, it was in EVERYTHING we ate and that is why it was so hard to figure out what food was causing the problem. The corn allergy is actually very common (as much so as the wheat allergy) but is not talked about because of the government controlling our corn industry in this country. I really recommend taking herto an allergist, or chiropractor or naturapthic dr. to test for food allergies. I'd swear that is what she has. I personally had the scopes and such and the "specialists" couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. This went on for more than 10 years that I suffered and then just gave up. It is miserable. I know first hand and second hand how miserable it is. I hope you get this figured out and help her. OH, and if it is a corn allergy, all the meds they put her on are loaded with corn and aggrevating it. And most all the milks are loaded with corn. That may sound strange, but they diagnosed me as lactose intolerant, but I wasn't. When the milk is processed, it strips out vitamins and the government requires it be "fortified" with vit. a and d. To do this, the vitamins themselves often are from corn, but almost always they are bound to a corn product to be able to be put back into the milk. The solution for us on milk is to only drink Organic Valley Whole Milk. We cannot have any of the other milks including other organic ones. OV whole milk still has these vitamins naturally. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Take care!

1 mom found this helpful

I would suggest that you find a chiropractor that checks for food allergies & treats with herbs. You may be surprised what he finds. Just keep paying those medical bills, eventually they're all paid & your child grown. Been there, done that. I know it ALL gets discouraging.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
First of all I really feel for you. It is very rough to see young children have such problems. You said that at one time soy seemed to help. Can I ask what kind of soy or what form the soy was in? The reason I ask is that I do know a lot of people who have been helped w/ reflux and digestive issues. I know that they found relief from a well balanced,
soy based nutritional product that comes in a liquid form. So I'm curious about what soy was used in the past.
Thanks for getting back with me,
B. from Toledo, OH

1 mom found this helpful

I feel so bad for you and your daughter. So often we feel like we are at the mercy of our doctors and that only they know what's best for us. I have learned that you have to trust in what you know about your kids and be willing to try other remedies than just the prescription drugs they give us.

Are you familiar with Market America's line of nutrition supplements? They have a product called Ultimate Aloe (it's an aloe juice) and one called Digestive Enzymes. These two products have cured acid reflux for so many people. I would suggest you read about them at www.marketamericascience.com.

A few of their other products helped my family with our health and nutrition that I joined the company. My website is www.marketamerica.com/rebeccahill. I would be happy to send you some testimonials from clients who have struggled with similar things as your daughter. Maybe that would give you some ideas of things to try. Let me know if you want more information.


Encyclopedia of Natural Health & Healing by Weber. Also....have you ever thought about going to an allergy doctor who SPECIFICALLY addresses those issues....not just a regular doc? I know of one who's phenominal. If I were in your shoes.....I'd want to handle this naturally! Where are you located?

Do alot of internet research on GERD and you may want to consider changing doctors if your not happy with this one. I would be more then happy to help if you want me to. Just Email me here.

I would try taking her off of dairy anyway - see what happens. It's at least worth a try. My son is off dairy and loves Almond Milk! It's really good.

I've never had a child go through this but I do go through much of this myself on a pretty regular basis. I would add a liquid antacid. It taste terrible but they really do work much better and faster than the tablets. Aciphex and protonix are pretty good prescriptions but I don't know about for little ones. You might also ask about a mix called GI cocktail. It is a mixture of, I believe, 3 different meds. It numbs the esophagus, and has an antacid in it to help keep acids down. Don't let her lay down to soon after eating. That is one of the quickest ways to get that bile rising. Avoid cinnamon. Avoid minty foods, snacks, or smells. They seem to help in the short term but they are really just masking things. Try to avoid any strong smells. Like candles, air fresheners, cleaners, bleach, or anything that puts off a strong smell. I hope that some of this is helpful to you. If you have any questions about this stuff that I might be able to answer, don't hesitate to contact me. I have esophaghitis, gerd, hiatal hernia, and gastritis. I can certainly feel for your daughter. Good luck, Shannon
PS. Keep some crackers on hand, any kind. They will help absorb some of the acid and help to keep her from vomiting so much. If she doesn't like crackers, dry cereal will work too.

I would definitely take her to see your ENT! Maybe just try her on soy milk too. It can't hurt to try. Also, I don't know much about this, but have you heard of fecal hording? It's when children hold in their bowel movements. Just a thought. Anyways, it sounds like you have a lot going on, and I hope they find out what is going on with your daughter soon! Good luck!

C.: Well, I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with dear child. What I've learned in my 10 years of research on naturopathics is this.....they work and there are no side effects. What about all the side effects - what about the ones we don't know about with Prevacid? Anyway, with one specific product, I've heard raving reviews about the effects of it - but it sounds like you'd prefer medicine.

God bless you,

M. G.

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