Secretion of acid by the stomach is a normal function of the body. Acid is secreted by parietal cells found in the stomach lining, involving a mechanism known as the proton pump. Acid in the stomach is useful for breaking down foods, making them easier to digest, and also for helping prevent infection by providing an unfavourable environment for growth of infective organisms.
One of the lesser known (and obviously less frequent) consequences of severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is the need to tube feed some children. Babies can learn very quickly that the act of feeding hurts and as a result will refuse to feed. Despite the notion that feeding should be instinctual, there are some instincts that take precedence, like preserving oxygen flow or avoiding pain.
Delicious treats for any time of the day.
So my son cannot have dairy, soy, gluten, egg … what on earth do I feed him!? This is a question faced by many parents who have infant and toddler ‘refluxers’, as food can often be the culprit for a reflux flare and cutting out gluten, dairy, soy, and/or egg from their diet can sometimes help (AND there may be other foods that need to be avoided too!). Food allergies show on allergy tests but there are no skin or blood tests for food intolerance and both can cause symptoms of reflux in susceptible children
Adverse reactions to food can be categorised into IgE mediated reactions and non-IgE mediated reactions. Understanding the difference between the two is important as the approach to treatment is quite different. An IgE-mediated food reaction involves the immune system. The onset is sudden and includes vomiting, abdominal pain, urticaria and angio-edema. An IgE-mediated reaction to food can be diagnosed through a range of validated tests including skin prick testing.
What is food intolerance, and what does it have to do with reflux?
Long term PPI use has been associated with problems with iron absorption
Sensory processing difficulties appear to be common for children with reflux. Approximately 51% of children with reflux also present with a major feeding difficulty such as food refusal, food selectivity, dysphagia or poor oral motor skills. It is interesting to note that 93% of feeding difficulties are found to result from a combination of organic causes (such as reflux) and secondary behavioural characteristics (such as avoiding meal times).