GERD - Other Treatments?

Updated on January 24, 2008
K.F. asks from Oregon City, OR
18 answers

My Daughter, Abby 19 months, was born with severe GERD. We had to have a GI feeding tube placed when she started to loose weight, just a week or so after her 1st birthday. Since then she's gained weight and is in the 25% for her ht/wt. She still has a lot of GERD symptoms through out the day and worse at night (since she lays down, the head of her bed is elevated) she is feed contiuously by a feeding pump during the night. She vomits most mornings. During the day she often swallows hard, hiccups, sneezes, and scratches at her ears and eyes (this is all reflux related). Currently we have her on Prevacid, and have tried Zantac and Prilosec (seemed to work pretty good but with each weight gain we'd have to increase her dose). I put Gripe juice in her feeding bag at night and this seems to help a bit...less vomiting in the am. She seems very uncomfortable and wakes up several times during the night repeatedly swallowing. Does anyone have experience with a more "natural" approach for GERD, the "traditional" medications don't seem to eleviate all her symptoms, don't get me wrong they do help. Without them I wouldn't be able to feed her without her vomiting 2 - 3 times during a meal. Anyway any advice would be helpful. Thanks

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B.K.

answers from Seattle on

Hi Karlee,
My daughter, 12 mos, has mild GERD. My chiropractor treats babies with GERD so I decided to give it a try. After her first adjustment (it's simple and painless) she slept through the night for the first time ever. It may be worth a try for you. I hope you can find something to help. It must be very challenging dealing with severe GERD. I have found my daughters mild symptoms stressful. Take care.

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L.M.

answers from Seattle on

I have a mom at my daycare who had the same, though not as severe, problem with her daughter.
She intorduced orgqanic cinnamin and ginger to her daughter's food and formula and had success.
Good luck!
L.

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

I don't know of any treatments, but just wanted to say that i was very touched by your story. I wish so much things will change for you and your little daughter. I will pray for you! God bless! K.

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

HI!
My son has Reflux too. He is 14 weeks old and was diagnosed at 6 weeks. Although showing signs much earlier...we started on zantac, did not work and was switched to prevacid 5 days later and has been working really well. We got a referral to go to CHildrens Hospital to their OT/PT department to get a wedge made, it worked SOO much better than elevating his bed. We got a wedge for play , changing is diaper and for his crib. There are straps to secure him and they measure just to fit him perfectly. Now, Im not sure if its the combination of meds, changing formula( no milk supply to BF) and wedge, but hes sleeping at 14 weeks almost through out the night with one waking every so often. I really believe in the Wedge. Before, he was not sleeping at all, fussy fussy! only sleeping upright on our chest! I hope this helps. I know how frustrating it can be! Just get a referral from your Dr. Insurance should cover the rest for the visit.

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M.P.

answers from Seattle on

A close friend told me that there are pediatric chiropractors who specialize in this - I think there may even be a few in the Everett Mill Creek area (my friend is back east so she is no help) she swore it changed her daughters life! Perhaps your pediatirian can recommend someone for you. good luck!

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S.L.

answers from Portland on

I have seen homeopathy work amazingly well on young children for physical and mental/emotional symptoms. Also, it would definitely be worth looking into her food allergies. I'd be happy to help you with either of these things, as I am a naturopathic doc that works a lot with both children and adults.

S.

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

Allergies?

My daughter also had GERD as an infant, but now only has minor re-occurances that are well managed with the usual treatments....but, I also suffered from it for a good portion of my adult life so am pretty familiar with it. Has she been tested for allergies and intolerances? My GERD turned out to be closely related to an intolerance to sugars...natural or otherwise (not diagnosed until a low carb diet not only caused me to lose weight, but my stomach problems as well). If she is allergic to something common (sugars, dairy, wheat, etc.) , it could even be in the formula you are giving her. It probably wouldn't cure her GERD to eliminate it, but it surely could be making it worse if it is included...

And I wanted to add a caution I think is voiced elsewhere here, and as someone in the medical profession I am sure you know anyway (but I can't help myself since I feel very strongly) please be careful with the natural cures since they are not tested or FDA approved. Most are what they say, and may or may not be effective...but as the recent recall (now both back, thankfully) of something so common as Veggie Booty and packaged spinach can tell us, even things well watched/regulated can have dire issues - so it makes me very cautious of those that have no oversight. And honestly, some of the ingredients in common homeopathic cures are a bit suspect (belladonna and caffeine in Hylands teething tablets comes to mine) - yes, in the correct form probably totally harmless, but what happens if there is a mistake? Like I said, I am sure you are already aware of this - but couldn't help putting in my two cents.

Good luck!
K.

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A.M.

answers from Portland on

please take her to a naturopathic doctor, there are lots of treatments. Steven-Sandberg-Lewis @ the first ave. health center specializes in GI stuff. All those drugs can do some real damage to her little system. Good luck, hope she feels better.

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

My daughter didn't have GERD that severely, so I don't have the same experience you did...but offering her a paci helped a LOT at night. My naturopath also suggested a liquid calcium supplement, which works like "Tums" basically. Have you tried switching formula to something different? I'm assuming you're not pumping to feed her - but if you are, something in your diet might be aggravating her too.

My other two suggestions would be to try homeopathy and craniosacral therapy. Both were *very* helpful with our situation and in general! I can give you great referrals if you need them!

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

After some research I found
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/therapiesfrometol/a/heart...

Several ideas for you. Please be aware when researching natural treatments, that not all natural herbs are safe for children. Most are very safe, like aloe and licorice.

Good luck to you!

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J.R.

answers from Portland on

Hi,
We went through very simillar things with our daughter. She ended up with a g-tube (due to reflux) at about 4.5 months, and had it until age 2. She is now 4.5, and doing very well. Sounds like you are doing many of the same things we did, sorry she is still having such problems. We found the feeding clinic we went to very helpful. But we also used a naturopath, who works primarily with homeopathy. Although by the time we took her to him, she no longer had the g-tube. But I believe he has been very helpful. Also there is a great feeding group online that was very helpful. Good luck and let me know if you want more info.

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L.N.

answers from Portland on

Hi there,

I don't know anything aboaut GERD, but my naturopathic doctor is a gasto-intestinal specialist and is extremely knowledgable. I highly recommend her. Her name is Tanya Hudson, and here is her info: [email protected]____.com, ###-###-####. She does a free 15-minute consultation, so you can see if she's right for you. Good luck!

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

Wow! Your poor child! My heart goes out to you.

Do you have a good naturopath who specializes in stomach disorders? A LOT (in fact MOST) of the time when a person has GERD, they have too LITTLE stomach acid. (I had it for a couple of years, and also when I was pregnant). If it wen't for digestive enzymes, I would still be terribly sick. These medications such as Prilosec and Zantac inhibit the absorption of vitamins, and a lot of drugs are untested on children so they don't know what effect it will have down the road.

The reason you can get acid reflux with too LITTLE acid is, the food gets old, it starts to develop gas, because it can't go "down the chute" and it backs up into the esophagus.

There is one good test to see whether or not this child has too little or too much stomach acid. Feed them a tablespoon of either lemon juice or Vinegar. If they feel better, they have too LITTLE acid. If they are worse, they have too much. My sister had GERD and I asked her to try this, and it wiped out her symptoms in about 2 hours. Believe me, she did not want to swallow vinegar, but the results were amazing. She started commenting how much better she felt. That's probably why those medications aren't effective. It's the opposite of what your daughter needs. My kids love to have lemon juice in their water (without sugar) because they learned from Mom that she puts lemon in her water.

I also discovered Naturopaths have tests for food allergies that MDs don't have. It's worth the cost, I'll tell you. They have saved my life, and me from Chronic Fatigue, which I had for 12 years.

God bless!

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

My son who is ten, had suffered from severe GERD for 4 years. It was an undiagnosed food allergy. Have the doctrs looked into that? MY son now is off corn and has a low fructose diet (we also found out he was fructose intolerant) and we have gone off all the meds (he was taking 3 of them)

Hope this helps.

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

K.,

Great question! My 3 yr old daughter has GERD and a G-tube too (for other reasons). I am not sure about scratching at her ears/eyes but the hard swallowing has been a symptom we have seen with my daughter. Then air in tummy. Then vomiting...Does she do any arching?

We have struggled too but seem to have her comfortable most of the time GERD wise. I have some thoughts but I am no expert other than a mom that has been dealing with this for a few years.

Can you or have you tried slowing down or stopping her feeds completely at night and shifting her calories during the day? Maybe her stomach is not emptying very quickly as is common with g-tubes and increasing her discomfort and increasing her feeling of the need to swallow. Any constipation issues? May be contributing to her discomfort...

I don't know what your medication schedule is now but my daughter went from a morning dose to a morning AND evening dose to help at night. (Prevacid solutabs) But I still have spent many nights sitting with her in the rocking chair trying to get her comfortable.

My last thought is that it is time to re-visit a specialist or a new one. We go to Children's in Seattle and have had great care. Persisitant doctors that keep trying until there is some kind of satisfactory result. I am wondering if there is someting besides the GERD contributing. Have you had a pH probe? stomach emptying test? scope? I know vomiting can cause ear congestion but could also be a sign of some type of allergy...

Good luck - K.

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T.D.

answers from Portland on

Hi K.,

My son also has GERD and has vomited pretty much everyday of his life, he is now 5 1/2. Although we have not had to use a feeding tube as he has no problem eating everything in the house...lol. I have had some success with Chiropractic. Recently he had a respiratory infection and was given albuterol in an inhaler....he did not throw up the whole time he was using the inhaler, once we stopped it the vomiting began again. I have started the inhaler again and the vomiting has reduced dramatically. The GI DR also prescribed Prevacid Solutabs which I thought might work until i realized that they contain Phenylalanine (the ingredient in Asparatame) I do not give this to my children as many people in my family have had severe reactions to Aspartame. I spoke with the drug company and they told me there it is only in the Solutabs so I now break up the capsules and sprinkle them in his food. I have scheduled an appt with the Allergist to see if this is what is causing the vomiting. Do you know if your daughter has allergies? (sneezing, scratching ears & eyes) I dont know if any of this will help. Best of luck to you I know how frustrating it is when you feel like no one is giving you the solution you are looking for! Please let me know how things are progressing.
T.

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E.M.

answers from Portland on

Hey, K.,

I seem to be the resident naturopath here. I'm not sure if you've looked into food allergies yet for your daughter Abby. Identifying and eliminating them can be tremendously helpful for GERD, and can also help prevent long-term common childhood issues such as eczema and asthma. My own daughter is 21 months and had severe colic issues that were completely resolved by eliminating her food allergies. Those were five very long and difficult weeks for us. I can only imagine still coping with these kinds of issues for 19 months!

Feel free to call or write for more information.

Dr. E. Mendenhall, ND
###-###-####
<[email protected]____.com>

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J.O.

answers from Seattle on

I had 2 kids with GERD. We went to the physical therapist and had a foam wedge which was fitted for their size with velcro straps to keep them in it. This was a lifesaver as an elevated bed wasn't nearly elevated enough for my kids.

We concentrated on eating hours before bedtime and being elevated 24/7. I even constructed a wedge for diaper changes and avoided changes after feeding. We took zantac. They grew out of the disease eventually, but daddy still takes meds for it every night.

The PT had additional advice and a Naturopath would give you some natural remedies. Hang in there!

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