We recently came across an interesting study titled, “What’s In A Name? More Drugs For Babies If It’s GERD.”
These babies who are spitting up and are crying a lot are not “otherwise healthy” as suggested in the article. People, which includes babies, spit up and cry for a reason.
Spitting up and crying are forms of rejecting food and expressing suffering. People reject food when the food isn’t working for them. Giving these symptoms a name like GERD doesn’t help. Just because someone has slapped a fancy label on it to restate the obvious (that they have food coming back up) doesn’t automatically legitimize the relatively useless diagnosis.
Following that up by treating the symptom with an acid blocker and ignoring the cause of the problem helps even less. It ultimately serves to make the problem worse. Fortunately the article noted that giving babies drugs for GERD often doesn’t help.
We’ve seen many babies in this same predicament. Barring an esophageal stricture or a blockage in the intestinal tract, these babies are reacting to the food that they are ingesting. We test them for food allergies and take them off the offending food(s). Then they begin to digest their food much better and no longer have reflux. They also stop crying so much.
The cure is there if you want to look for it. But you won’t find it if you only treat the symptom.
Excerpt from NPR:
Researchers asked 175 parents visiting a pediatric clinic in Michigan about how they would respond to one of four hypothetical scenarios about a crying, regurgitating baby. Everyone got the same basic description of what was happening, but some parents were told that the child had GERD while others heard no mention of a disease. In addition, half were told that the drug wasn’t likely going to help the symptoms,while the rest were not given any information on effectiveness.
Parents who had the GERD label applied to the infant’s symptoms were more likely to be interested in drugs even when they were specifically told that they probably wouldn’t work.
“It’s important for both patients and doctors to know the powers that these labels have,” says , an author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri.
The authors used GERD in their scenario because there’s that it is being overdiagnosed and overtreated with medications including in babies. Prescriptions to treat GERD are on the rise, but there’s no evidence that they help infants who are just fussy and spitting up a lot. (The drugs might help severe cases confirmed by endoscopy, the authors said.)
Part of the problem may be confusion about the difference between normal spitting up and GERD, which is a more serious problem involving acidic reflux that damages the lining of the esophagus. Spitting up can be a symptom, but GERD has to be confirmed by endoscopy, the authors said.
Image thanks to emptynestchronicles