Acid Reflux in Children

For the past year or so, Jack has been plagued with a nagging, persistent cough.

We took it to our pediatrician. She gave him a course of antibiotics. They didn’t work. Next she tried steroids. Still no change. Next she suggested we see an allergy specialist.

At this point I spoke my friend Carrie, who also happens to be an MD. When I mentioned the dry, persistent cough, she said it could only be one of three things. Allergies, Acid Reflux, or Asthma. Then she suggested that there was over the counter medication for all these things, and why don’t I just go through the meds and see what works. Finally she gave me the correct dosage for a child Jack’s age and weight.

I could not believe after all those visits to our pediatrician, she couldn’t tell me something that seemed so simple and clear to Carrie!

After that we switched pediatricians.

We started with allergies. I can’t remember which one now. But the medicine didn’t work. Next we used Prilosec, an acid reflux drug. In four days Jack wasn’t coughing at all!

We read all the material we could online about acid reflux. No acidic food, don’t eat right before bed. We followed it.

Six months later the cough was back. And worse. Jack would complain he was hungry in the morning, but wouldn’t eat. Next thing you know he was coughing until he was throwing up. We used Prilosec again. This time it took six days. I was worried it was unsustainable.

Adam suggested we book with an appointment for Jack with a specialist. I called the Children\’s Memorial Hospital Gastroenterology. First we met with Dr John Rosen and later the head of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Dr Barry Wershil.

We learned that the over the counter medications will suppress acid reflux, but it won’t neutralized the problem. Which is why it kept coming back. We were not solving the problem, we were masking it.

I asked if Jack would grow out of the problem. Apparently acid reflux is common in infants, who outgrow it, but not in children.

Jack was given a 90 day dose of Prevacid.

We were pleased to hear the side effects were less than an aspirin for the short dose he was prescribed. We were also pleased to hear that acidic food in normal quantities should not effect acid reflux. However, eating right before bed can agitate it.

I hope it works and we can put this problem behind us.

This whole episode made me realize how important your job is as a parent. On so many levels. Not just feeding, cleaning, encouraging, teaching. But also to be your children’s biggest advocate. Not to blindly trust what some pediatrician thinks is the right course. No one knows your child like you do. Trust your inner instincts. Do your research. Be proactive.

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