Reflux occurs in more than two thirds of healthy infants. It is normal to have contents of the stomach to enter the esophagus. The concern comes when it leads to other problems like poor weight gain, stomach pain or respiratory symptoms. This is now where the symptoms are classified as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and occurs in 10 – 20% of children.
Most parents will bring the question up to their doctor when they notice their baby spitting up frequently, refusing to eat, becoming more irritable and having sleep disturbance.
The current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is to do lifestyle modifications prior to any drug therapy.
Position change to having your baby more upright during breast or bottle feedings
Modifying mom’s diet
Reducing feeding volume, while increasing frequency of feedings
If the above changes didn’t show any benefit, conventional medicine provides two main options, acid suppressants or prokinetic agents. The former is the more common prescription, while the later is geared toward increasing movement of food through the stomach.
Within the antacids, the strongest of the lot are proton pump inhibitors (rabeprazole, pantoprazole). One study showed no difference in irritability as compared to placebo. There is a need for reassessment of the over use of proton pump inhibitors in the pediatric population as their use in infants increases the risks of pneumonia, gastroenteritis and candida.
In Natural Medicine, the approach is to improve the function of the digestive system, and to decipher any blockages to that function.
Some steps that the doctors at Sage clinic use to treat GERD are to:
Decipher food allergies via blood allergy panels or EAV sensitivity testing.
For example, milk protein allergy can mimic the symptoms of GERD
Counsel on the various formula options available. We can educate you on the pros and cons of all of the commercial formulas to find the best fit for your baby.
Use probiotics and digestive enzymes to work akin to the prokinetic agents mentioned above.
Use homeopathy to treat some of the symptoms of irritability, stomach pain, sleep disturbance as we have found consistently that infants respond beautifully to homeopathic medicine.
Contact the doctors at Sage Clinic to help improve your baby’s digestive system and treat GERD with Natural Medicine.
Lightdale, Jenifer et al, Gastroesophageal Reflux: Management Guidance for the Pediatrician.Pediatrics 2013; 131; e1684