Previously published in Examiner
Conclusion of the baby colic series
Many Montrealers suffer from GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease. This disease is chronic, meaning people suffer from it for many years. Perhaps you suffer from it yourself of you know a person or two who is drinking pepto bismal like it is soda pop.
Montrealers will go to their family doctors or walk in clinic if they are concerned about GERD. The doctor will then refer them to a gastroenterologist. If you prefer a private clinic you can try: The Montreal Clinic J.S. Benhamron for Gastroenterology, the consultation is covered by medicare. Children will be seen by their pediatricians who may refer them to a specialist after the initial consultation.
Treatment and medication for infant acid reflux
Before medication is prescribed there are certain changes that you can do decrease the vomiting. If you are using a formula you can try changing brands. You must hold you baby upright during feeding. Decrease the amount of feeding and if you are breastfeeding you must pay attention to your own diet and avoid dairy and other foods which could trigger the vomiting in your baby.
Make sure the nipple on the bottle is not too big forcing your baby to gulp too much air or take in too much food. On the other hand, the doctor might suggest you thicken the formula with a little rice or breast milk.
If the situation requires medication, then the doctor will prescribe the infant version of the same medication given to adults who have GERD. These medications include: H-2 blockers, such as, “cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), or proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) or lansoprazole (Prevacid).” These medications may have side effects such as respiratory and intestinal infections and are not recommended for prolonged use. Also spine and hip fractures have been reported in adults using the proton pump inhibitors.
Your doctor may recommend more calories in your child’s food if your child is not growing as fast as other children of the same age, or sometimes a feeding tube is recommended.
In very rare cases surgery called a fundoplication will be necessary to tighten up the lower esophageal sphincter. This surgery will stop the GERD but it may also cause the child to continuously gag on food. The surgery is therefore, reserved for children who are not growing and children who are having trouble breathing.