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Is the link between reflux and tongue tie backed up with research? Or will the doc just dismiss it as nonsense?

(18 Posts)
mawbroon Tue 27-Sep-11 14:17:31

I have only just come across this idea (on MN of course!) and need to raise it with the paed next week.

DS1 is almost 6 and suffering terribly with reflux. He is on omeprazole and the doc said, "he might have to take this for life".

It's not really made much difference to him and I am going to mention the tongue tie connection, but am fully expecting to be told that it is nonsense.

I am not 100% sure that ds1 has a tongue tie, but looking back to his babyhood and our breastfeeding experience, there are many things that indicate that he is slightly ttd. eg lipstick shaped/blanched nipples, woefully inefficient feeding which took forever with weight gain which was not particularly great (his weight rocketed once we did blw at 6months). There is a little slit at the end of his tongue,but apart from that, it looks normal to my untrained eye, and he has no probs with speech or sticking his tongue out etc. I have since learned lots about the normal course of breastfeeding, and experienced it first hand with ds2, so I can confidently say with hindsight, that there was definitely a problem of some sort.

And again, I am not 100% sure, but he could well have had silent reflux as a baby. He cried a lot for the first 12 weeks. In fact, he pretty much cried if he wasn't latched on. There was nothing much to differentiate between one feed and the next, and he only started going 2hrs betweeh feeds at around 12 weeks. He wouldn't sleep at night unless he was latched on and seemed to want to nurse way more than any other toddlers I came across.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? Maybe I am clutching at straws with this theory, but the doc seemed very quick to suggest a lifetime of drugs sad

mawbroon Tue 27-Sep-11 19:07:27


will post in children's health too.

Mollcat Tue 27-Sep-11 19:45:47

There's a reference in this presentation by Dr Brian Palmer in Canada to a lady who had TT and gastric distress Might not be enough for a GP though as it's just one man's theory I suppose.

TheRealMBJ Tue 27-Sep-11 19:53:03

As far as I know it is just a theory and there is no real evidence to back it up.

Why don't you ask on the Analytical Armadillo's blog? She's really knowledgeable.

ThePosieParker Tue 27-Sep-11 19:58:26

Out of my four children three had reflux and two had tongue tie which needed surgery.

The worst two cases of reflux were the two children without tongue tie, the child with the worst tongue tie had no reflux at all.


mawbroon Thu 29-Sep-11 09:53:19

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Mollcat, yes, I've seen that presentation and I guess it won't do any harm to print it and bring it along.

I am psyching myself up for the doc to poo poo me. Perhaps I will be surprised!

If no joy with doc, I will take ds1 to the dentist. There are two little stings under his tongue which seem to be pulling on his bottom gum, so maybe the dentist might think it needs looked at from an orthodontic point of view, which would kill two birds with one stone! smile

mawbroon Thu 29-Sep-11 09:53:54

stings? Strings under his tongue I meant to write!

ThePosieParker Thu 29-Sep-11 10:03:50

OP. It is nonsense.

mawbroon Thu 29-Sep-11 10:08:20

Tell me why you think it is nonsense Posie.

ThePosieParker Thu 29-Sep-11 10:39:05

Mainly because I know many babies with reflux with no tongue tie, and some ttd with no reflux. My main evidence is my own children, two with severe tongue tie.....only one reflux and he had the least reflux and tt. My otehr two terribly refluxy children had no tt.

Latch and therefore not good feeding can be a cause of frequent feeding but if a child, at 6, is still suffering with reflux I cannot fathom how tt could possibly be the cause. Unless you're still bfing a 6 year old.

mawbroon Thu 29-Sep-11 11:12:22

OK, so maybe your answer should have been.

"OP, I think it's nonsense"

My understanding of the theory is that the tongue tie may cause the chewing and swallowing action to be compromised which in turn can result in a lot of air being swallowed.

I would imagine that there is a huge variation in different types of tongue tie, and it would be crazy to say that tt=reflux, no tt=no reflux.

Your last sentence seems to suggest that if a 6yo was still bf then it might be causing reflux. Unless I have misunderstood what you mean, I don't see the connection.

ThePosieParker Thu 29-Sep-11 11:45:27

Air being swallowed has nothing to do with reflux, which is the under development of a flap in the stomach or under the umbrella of acid in the stomach....

Both of my sons had general anesthetics to have surgery, I would hazard a guess that their TTs were significant...

As both conditions seem to exist completely without each other I cannot think how you would put them together, it's just a coincidence.

TT can cause it's own issues that make feeding difficult but not anything to do with reflux, which is to do with sphincter muscle in the gullet., TT could cause poor feeding...which may (at a stretch) cause an over active stomach awaiting food in the same way that chewing gum may...but it's not reflux.

And no I don't think air gets swallowed as much as a poor latch.

mawbroon Thu 29-Sep-11 12:11:59

If you google Aerophagia and reflux, you will find loads of info comes up saying that the two often go hand in hand.

You are probably right that swallowing air doesn't cause reflux, but I'm willing to bet that it doesn't help matters one little bit.

bangcrash Thu 29-Sep-11 18:53:17

There may be an association but the research isn't really there yet, not an area that attracts funding really. Even if it is there it could be that babies with midline defects are more prone to reflux. Until more babies are studied with control groups used then I don't think we will know.

Palmer's work is interesting and it would be great to see what your consultant thinks.

I know of a boy who got a snip at eight for speech reasons, he instantly stopped bed wetting. Palmer notes similar, sometimes the reasons are hard to see.

bangcrash Thu 29-Sep-11 18:54:27

There are certainly no benefits to a tt in an otherwise healthy baby, child or adult.

mawbroon Tue 04-Oct-11 23:50:21

I've just emailed Brian Palmer.

It would be ace if I got a reply!

faverolles Wed 05-Oct-11 07:30:10

Anecdotally, I've heard of quite a few cases where TT snipping coincides with a vast improvement in reflux, in babies and young children.
The paed I saw when DS had his TT snipped said they were finding that babies with a TT that they saw tended to be sicky babies,( and that was certainly the case for DS) and that it tended to improve on snipping.

I think there is an awful lot of ignorance and lack of research surrounding TT.

mawbroon Wed 05-Oct-11 09:14:48

I got a reply from him!

He said that he cannot diagnose ds1 without seeing him (of course - it goes without saying!!), but from what I say, he thinks it could be a contributing factor. And he has given me details of somebody in the UK who might be able to help.

Maybe the doc on friday will say "of course" and refer him, and I am worrying about nothing. smile

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