Is It GERD (Acid Reflux), Allergies, Stomach Virus or Something Else?

Updated on January 25, 2009
T.A. asks from Arlington, TX
5 answers

My son is almost 11 months old (born 4 weeks premature) and was diagnosed pretty early on with acid reflux. He was originally put on Rantidine (sp?), but it gve him horrible diarrhea for 18 days straight (must be bad for a baby who stays constipated most of the time), so he was then prescribed Bethanechol. He's been on that for several months, and he was doing very well on it. Little by little, he was weened off of it, only to start having problems with spitting up again. His dosage is higher now, but the number of doses a day is less. To add something else, because of the reflux, he's always kinda hacked and coughed. Well, for the past couple of weeks, his hacking and coughing has turned into gagging and choking, then projectile vomiting. This only seems to happen after solids, not formula. At first, we thought maybe he has sinus and allergy problems and occassionally got a "tickle" in his throat from drainage and the vomiting was helping him get rid of phlegm and mucus. After this had happened a few times, I called the doctor's office, and the nurse said the same thing, that the office has seen a lot of it. This past week, the hacking, coughing and vomiting got a little worse, and then he got to where he didn't want to eat. He will take a bottle but not food, and if he does eat food, it usually comes back up. Last night, he hardly ate anything, and what he did eat came back up. This morning, the sitter couldn't get him to eat, and he cried non-stop for 2 hours. Not like him at all. My husband picked him up and took him to the doctor, who said that nothing was wrong and he's okay. He checked his ears, throat, chest, everything, and he's okay. He did say that the vomiting was probably from the acid reflux, and he upped the dosage again. He didn't mention allergies or anything else. The baby was good for the rest of the day and took a bottle. When I fed him dinner this evening, he vomited BIG, twice. What is going on? He has had no fever, and up until this week, he's bee eating pretty good. I worry because he's a little underweight (not really underweight, but not where he should be). He weighs 19lbs, and he weighed 8lbs 2oz at birth. I don't want him to stop eating or keep vomiting what he does eat, and I certainly don't want him to lose weight. Again, what's going on?? It's very frustrating.

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So What Happened?

We had a "bad" weekend, so we went to the pediatrician again today, where he ordered a series of tests. This is a start. And so far, today has been a better day. Thank you for your responses. It helped me talk to to the doctor today. Now we can get to the bottom of this and make my baby well!

More Answers



answers from Wichita Falls on

I'd ask for a referral to a Pediatric GI - and do a little bit of reading on "pyloric stenosis". If that is the problem, the surgery is an easy and permanent fix (no more meds, no more puking).

General description - food goes down the esophagus, in the stomach, through the pyloric sphincter (a valve), and into the small intestine... where it goes on through the intestines and into the diaper.

Stenosis is a narrowing - in this case of that pyloric valve. It's kind of like bypass surgery, making that valve tight makes it hard for the food (or formula) to go into the small intestine. It may be wide enough for formula to trickle out slowly, which would cause spit up (especially on more than a couple of ounces), constipation (because of the slow addition of food and fluids to the intestine, the peristalsis that pushes it along can slow down - causing a backup), but too narrow for the solids - which can 'plug the hole' so to speak in the stomach, causing massive vomiting.

So -that's what I think... but check it out with your doctor.

Good luck.


answers from Dallas on

Look into pre and probiotics. It can help with acid reflux and help build immunities to protect your son from allergies. I could do research for you on dosage for such a little guy if you have interest. I had acid reflux and was on meds for many months. I didn't want to continue and went this route. I'm 95% cured.



answers from Amarillo on

I a agree strongly with both of the earlier sugestions. We were told my son would outgrow his reflux not hardly! He ended up with burns in esophagus and would not eat. We finally had surgery and while it was a bit of a stress it was great releif after the recovery. A pediatric gastrointerolgist is the way to go and pro & pre biotics do help! This is rough because people often don't get it all babies spit up etc and the screaming that comes with feeding babies with this problem is excruating. As an aside, if your not already elveate the head of his bed gravity will help keep the food in the stomach as much as possible and don't lay him down for at least an hour after feeding try and hold him upright as much as possible!



answers from Dallas on

I agree with Steph. Sounds to me like it could be a partial pyloric stenosis. Two of my nephews had full PS and had minor surgery at about 3-4 weeks to correct it. Your son's sounds like a partial blockage, allowing liguids through, but no solids (which would explain why he's been okay up until this point). If it's not that (which is easy to diagnose) then it could be a damaged esophagus. Either way, you need to see another doctor if your current one doesn't consider this as serious as it is.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with the other posts. go see a specialist immediately. My daughter had acid reflux (that I diagnosed by the way) and my doctor at the time just thought it was a formula issue. The solid foods are supposed to help keep everything DOWN, not coming back up, so I think the issue is likely what the other posters are suggesting. A gastric specialist will be able to tell you pretty quickly through some tests what is going on.

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