Silent Reflux?

Updated on February 28, 2016
W.H. asks from Dallas, TX
25 answers

Hello. My daughter is 4 months old and has wheezed, coughed, and been hoarse almost since day 1 and with varying degrees. She got bronchiolitis (RSV onset) at 2 months, we gave her Pulmicort (5 days) and Xopenex (3 weeks) through a nebulizer with little long term success. The pediatrician finally diagnosed her with asthma after a second major bout of coughing/wheezing in conjunction with a cold. She had more Pulmicort and Xopenex again but did not get much better. She also has had chest xrays and her lungs are clear. We finally took her to a pediatric pulmonologist, had a Cystic Fibrosis test (negative, whew!) and an upper GI and they said she showed some silent reflux. She is still wheezy and coughing and hoarse, but no longer on Xopenex or Pulmicort because it does not seem to help much. Through all this, she is very chunky (18+ pounds)and thriving and happy. As a matter of fact, we think she might eat more because it soothes her throat. We are experimenting with upping her Zantac which she's been on since 2 months old and changing her formula but she is mostly breastfed. Sorry for the lengthy history, but I'm frustrated that we can't seem to get her better after many many doctors visits, tests, medications, and xrays. I don't want to keep giving her medicines that don't work. Has anyone had this experience with their babies and had any luck "treating" it? I guess I'm still not sure if it is just reflux or allergies (or both) and what we can do to help her. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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B.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W., I don't have much experience with this. My daughter had more of the typical colic reflux that went away around 4-5 months. My cousin's baby had silent reflux really bad and his mother said that putting him on Prevacid is what finally did the trick. It works differently from Zantac, so you might look into it. Good luck!

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C.H.

answers from Dallas on

We went through some similar situations when my daughter started daycare at 4 months old in December. Same meds and didn't really seem to help. Finally, the doctor advised on Zyrtec (2 ML) at bed time at 6 months old. This seemed to help for a while and then wore off. Now we are doing Benadryl (2 ML) at bed time (she is 10 months). I think most of this is allergy related but not certain. I can sympathize with you. I do not know if there is any treating it as it is common cold/allergy and they seem to get well and then recatch it at daycare.

Good luck!

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C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

we have the EXACT same issue. my son has been wheezing since he was 2-3 months old and vomited all the time. pediatrician ignored it forever no matter how many times i complained. finally saw an allergy and asthma specialist and got meds, but the vomiting didn't get better. the specialist sent us to a gastrointestinal doctor. we have done the barium test and now he will have the scope. The specialist says if nothing is found, he will send us to a pulmunologist. we did not get any better on pulmicort and saw such an increase in reflux and vomiting that my son cannot nap or go to bed at night without waking up screaming and vomiting from it. he is 19 months, and cannot tell us what is going on. he has had serious breathing issues triggered mainly by viruses even on the pulmicort, so i see no reason to keep torturing him with it. he does better off of it. i know the next cold virus will send us to the doc again, where i will be blamed for not keeping him on the pulmicort. it is extremely frustrating!

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A.M.

answers from Wichita Falls on

Sounds a lot like what we went through with our daughter. We finally got a visit with a pulminologist - Dr. Pfaff - at cook children's. She has asthma of infancy which she will likely out grow at around 7 years old. She is on a daily steroid with other medications for break through problems. She hasn't had an upper respiratory infection in about 6 months. Push for an appointment with a pulminologist they specialize in the respiratory system and should be able to help you with this problem. Good Luck

A.

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

Honestly, your daughter sounds JUST like my son. He caught RSV at 4 months and then it all went downhill from there. My son was also put on pulmicort. You said that you only gave her that for 5 days. I'm not, by any means, an expert, but Pulmicort is supposed to be a drug that is "preventative", which means she should be on it all of the time - not just 5 days. I would say that she needs to be on it a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks before you really begin to see the benefits of it (ask your doctor for more information). My son stayed on pulmicort for 6 months to a year (I can't remember exactly). And, he was constantly on albuterol as well.

The only other thing that it doesn't sound like you ahve done yet is to have the allergy testing done (the skin prick). My son had this done, but he was not allergic to anything. He basically had poor breathing for 2 years and had to be on the inhaler type medicines (pulmicort and albuterol). He is now 6 and is 99% fine. Everyonce in a while, he will have an attack and have to put put back on albuterol. Oh, and he is on Singuliar full time now as well. I think your daughter is too young for that type of medication, but I don't know. My daughter is 18 months old and has similar problems (not quite as severe as my son) and she is on Clarinex daily and it started when she was fairly young. You may want to check into a daily allergy medication.

Good luck with it all. I would definitely follow the advice of the pediatric pulmonologist though!

-L.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like she might be allergic to milk or something else. Be sure to have her tested for allergys.

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D.H.

answers from Dallas on

Have you tried Drs. Silver and Mundajuno? They were our salvation when my kids were little.

My kids got sick a lot less after bringing on these two doctors as their pulmonologists.

My son still has reflux at 12 and started seeing them at two but it is very managed now.

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K.J.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W.,
Have you had your baby tested for allergies? Do you have pets in the house, cat or dog maybe? My daughter has allergies to cats and gets the same symtoms if she is near a cat or around anyone that has cat dander on their clothing.

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E.F.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W.,

I'm really feeling for you, sister! My son had some similar issues, and he was exclusively breastfed. Through a lot of trial, I found that dairy and soy in my diet really negatively affected his reflux. A friend whose son also struggled with this took him to a pediatric gastroenterologist and he told her to eliminate all dairy and soy (including the hidden dairy and soy sources) from her diet. It really helped. I don't know if you have considered it, but you might think about it. It was hard on me, but I could tell a night and day difference in my son when I did it. It will take 2 weeks for the dairy to get out of your system and breastmilk if you choose to try it, so give it some time. We also had him on Prevacid, Best wishes to you.

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

Have you tried having her sleep so that her head is higher than her stomach when she's laying down? I haven't dealt with a baby with reflux, but I have it and know that is one of the strategies for dealing with it. Reflux and asthma are also related. I almost never have asthma now that I am taking Nexium for reflux. It sounds like she's doing pretty good other than the coughing/hoarsness, etc.

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G.O.

answers from Dallas on

my friend's son had all these same symptoms until the age of 4 yrs when she discovered aloe vera juice as a remedy for reflux. Now she and her son are off their reflux meds completely. Do your research, just thought I would throw that your way. Good luck!

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A.A.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W., my daughter, who just turned 2, had similar problems. When she was nearly 3 months old, she developed RSV, and she used Xopenex to help her breath. The first year of her sweet life she would suffer from the same symtoms you described (cold, cough, difficulty breathing and wheezing) in a pattern. She would get sick, be sick with the systems for about 10-14 days (gradually getting worse and then better), and then she would be fine for 2-3 weeks. After that, we'd start the cycle over again. It was rough, but after she was old enough to take IB, then that helped her sleep during her coughing boughts (nap and at night). I often would sleep sitting up in bed or rocking chair holding her or next to her in bed with her propped up on pillows, so she and I could get some sleep.

The good news is that she has thrived in every way, and she now goes longer stretches between the boughts of colds. I now only give her Xopenex a couple days during the worse of her colds, and I give it to her only before nap and at night. It seems to help relax the coughing reflex enough for her to go to sleep, and I think the IB helps.

My pediatrician explained that babies can't get rid of the mucus fast enough so they cough, wheeze and have difficulty breathing, especially babies who have had RSV. My pediatrician said that as they get older and their bodies grow then they will be better able to cop with the mucus. I have found that to be true with mine. It's tough going through these constant colds and sleepless nights, but as your baby girl grows, she'll get stronger. She just needs a little help from you during those days and nights when she's at her worse during a cold. Hang in there!

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B.D.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W.-

I went down a similar path with my son: coughing, wheezing, constantly nursing, prednisone, pulmicort, etc. My gut told me it was wrong and I tried a new pediatrician. She suggested food allergies and to log what I was eating. I went on an elimination diet to determine what bothered him. I found him to be sensitive to dairy and soy, and allergic to peanuts.

Now, for my third child, I picked up on the coughing/wheezing much sooner and removed dairy from my diet. She is by far the healthiest of my three at 3 1/2 months old!

I also want to reiterate what another mom said. You should read about vaccinations and consider waiting on vaccinations until your child is in good health. Their bodies cannot properly absorb vaccines when they are not in good health and can cause different problems down the line, which we are now dealing with.

I wish you the best! Follow your gut - you will often be right more than the majority of doctors you take your child to. If it doesn't feel right, it isn't.

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

Our son went through the same thing from a very young age (2 months). For the reflux our Pedi put him on a water soluable prevacid and we did the breathing treatments with the same meds as you for several months off and on until he was about 10 moths old when his body finally started to adjust to the environment (he has bad allergies just like I do). We went through all of the testing too. Once he got older the coughing & wheezing became very infrequent and we could treat him with cough meds or allery meds. He's 2 now and we only have to do the breathing treatments when his allergies are really bad other wise his doing just great.

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E.2.

answers from Providence on

Try babies magic tea. Maybe, it work for your baby.

C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like reflux to me. I would ask for a PH Probe test to see how bad it is and I would also switch to Prevacid. Zantac is a very mild medication and usually non-effective. If you were to go and see a GI doctor, they would switch you right away in most cases. GI docs usually dont mess around with Zantac, although it is a first step for pedi's and other docs who dont treat reflux as often.

My son was born 16 weeks premature and has had severe reflux since day one. We went around and around and he finally had surgery at 15 months because it was very severe. You are NO where near this, nor do I think you will be, I just tell you this as an explanation of our experience with reflux.

My son's reflux did lead to lots of respitory problems, but we had both the GI and Pulm working with him.

I am half awake, so I hope this made sense. Feel free to email me anytime if I can help. [email protected]____.com

C.

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

We don't have asthma, but we definitely have silent reflux. My daughter was in the 90th percentile, so I felt crazy stressing that there was something wrong. She would nurse for about 5 minutes and pull off, screaming in pain. Then it got to where I would even lift my shirt & she would scream. We do Prevacid 2 x day and it works pretty well. I try to stay away from highly acidic food and things that would give an adult reflux. We also got Levsin drops to help with the abdominal spasms because she would curl up and scream until she pooped. We saw a Pediatric GI specialist, Mona Dave' at Presby Plano and really liked her. Best wishes to you!

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M.L.

answers from Dallas on

I would take her to a chiropractor. My chiro specializes in Pediatric care and has had some awesome success with Reflux, as well as Allergies. Dr. Haggerton in Hurst - trust me, it's worth the drive! Good luck to you!

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

W.,
PLEASE be careful with vaccinations! Read Dr. Sears vaccine Book or Stephanie Caves book on Vaccines. Homeopathy is a great natural way to help. Dr. Dan Cook in Dallas is great.
L.

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J.M.

answers from Dallas on

Ahh, reflux. What a pain to deal with. Both my kids have this as does my husband. I would recommend Dr. John Fewins in Ft. Worth if you are anywhere close. I am not sure he sees little ones that small, but he got both my kids as well as hubby on the right track. He is really good and smpathetic. As a matter of fact, he also suffers from bad reflux.

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

Have you tried breathing treatments whenever it flairs up?

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A.G.

answers from Dallas on

Have you talked with your doctor about thickening her food and milk? That would be the first thing I would ask. Then I would ask if she is lactose intolerant. We struggled for a year with one of my twins to only find out on top of relux he was lactose intolerant. Does she sleep upright? Mine slept in a swing or carseat for the first year. Hope this helps!

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

To decrease the reflux, have her in a upright position for 30 minutes after eating. My sister had this problem as a baby and my grandma put small amount of rice in her food. Babies at this age are still developing and the flap that leads to the stomach is weak. My friend is a pedi nurse and she says sometime it takes a kid awhile to get over RSV, so keep watch over her. You could always seek the opinion of another pedi as well.

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hi W., I know what you're going through it's very upsetting when you don't know for sure. My grandson had simular problems. We thought he had lung problems as well as stomach. He wheezed & coughed & threw up all the time. We finally after 2 yrs took him to a gastric Dr.
Not sure about the spelling but it's Dr. Olganmola assco. with Cook's children in Ft. Worth he is wonderful.
He had a scope done & the found the valve in the lower part of his stomach was to small so he dialated it & in a very short time he was fine. With acid reflux of any kind the acid sometimes gets in the lungs & it can cause wheezing. I hope you will take to a gastic specialist & have her checked out further. I know its a tough spot to be in as a Mother, just know you & your family are in my prayers. Take care.

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R.H.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 4 years old and had the exact same thing. She kept getting sick and had been sick with a cold/cough every month since she was 18 months old. The peditrician would just say, kids get 10-12 colds a year and she would develop and ear infections with it because of the cough/drainage. I finally went to a allergist, no allergies. But they did stick a camera down her nose and her adneoids were covered in mucus and that was making her cough all the time. We had them removed, she did get some better for about 6 months. Then she got a cold again/then the cough started again. She was coughing for about 6 weeks and I took her to pedi again. They said estachitis, use nasonax spray for 2 weeks, didn't help. Got feed up again, and took her to the ENT office that took her adneoid out. I saw a different doctor in the office and told him all of what had been going on since she was 18 months old and the sickness. He stuck a camera down her nose again and saw that her larynx was bright red and mucus was coming out of her stomach and hit the camera. He said she had acid reflux, I could not believe him, as she has had no symptoms of that ever. He said that are learning more and more that it causes ear infections, resporitory infections, adneoids removed, etc. I had a hard time believing it and did not internet reseach, and found that it was true. We gave her prevacid for 6 weeks and after 5 days the cough went away. I still give her some for a few days when she gets a cold, to keep the elevations down. As the doctor said it can get elevated when a cold happens. I hope that any of this helps, I just went though a lot with her being sick and they could never figure out what was wrong. If she had been diagnoised right, she would not have had to had her adneoids removed the first time.

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