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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Has anyone tried food allergy testing for reflux symptoms?

(14 Posts)
Heliopolis Sat 17-Sep-11 11:18:46

DS is 14 months with severe reflux symptoms, has outgrown ranitidine and now omeprazole doses relevant to his weight, has anyone tried food allergy testing and what type where? I'm finding elimination diets really tricky.

narmada Sat 17-Sep-11 22:36:11

Have you cut out dairy? Probably you have so ignore.
DS had a RAST blood test for dairy allergy but it was, as we had been advised it was likely to be, negative. They only work for true allergy I think. I'm not 100% convinced about the scientific merit of the food allergy testing you see advertised in mags etc.

You prob looked already, but have you seen the MARCI kids website? It recommends far higher doses of PPIs in paedeatric patients than used here in UK.

I think on another thread you mentioned DGE. Has your DS tried any other motility drugs apart from domperidone? E.g., erythromycin at low dose.

Sorry, not really answering your original question but just thoguth I would share in case anything helped - reflux is terrible.

Does your DS have food/ eating aversions?

narmada Sat 17-Sep-11 22:36:56

Sorry, what I meant to say was DS's RAST test was negative although he definitely does have a milk intolerance.

nightcat Sat 17-Sep-11 23:00:02

That's the problem with allergy testing, unless the reaction is severe/life threatening they are unlikely to pick it up, ie intolerance would not show.
IME reflux often results from wheat (gluten) intolerance, it id in my ds and other family members.
Also, diet trial is the only way to find out what it is, I would try a few weeks with no wheat, you might be surprised.
I think it's cruel to keep pumping motility drugs (that push undigested food through) w/o considering the food that babies, even adults, can't digest.

thisisyesterday Sat 17-Sep-11 23:06:32

you can only test for allergies, and tbh if it was an allergy i think you'd probably know about it by now... allergies are an immune response and produce a histamine reaction, so if a child with a milk allergy has milk then you might expect to see swelling of mouth/face, or a rash/hives on the areas milk has touched.

with gut symptoms it's more likely to be an intolerance. that's when the body simply can't handle the substance and the gut reacts to it.. hence reflux and tummy pains, bad poo, sickness etc
intolerances cannot be tested for unfortunately, and are mostly diagnosed via parental observation.

you could try keeping a food diary and seeing if he is worse after having specific foods or on days when he has had lots of something.
alternatively you could try cutting out common foods related to intolerances and see if there is an improvement. these include milk, eggs, soya, fish...

narmada Sat 17-Sep-11 23:14:29

OP, how about coeliac testing? Or is your DS too young for that?? I don't really know too much about it but I do know that the DD of a friend had terrible trouble with appetite, vomiting, diarrhea etc and was diagnosed Coeliac at about 2 and a bit.

Nightcat, I do see what you mean - you would def want to rule out food-related issues first, but there are some cases where no cause can be found for DGE/ gastroparesis and motility medications can and do help.

Heliopolis Mon 19-Sep-11 14:52:23

Thanks guys for all help. Yes we're dairy and egg free and did a wheat free thing too a while back but it wasn't conclusive because I did use a bit of spelt. This was because kiniesiology tests showed that to be ok. I'm reluctant to use motility drugs as domperidone seemed to make him hungrier plus food passed through him at the rate of knots, it just didn't seem right! There is no vomiting or diarrhoea, just trouble sleeping which is fixed if he is upright. Cot is propped up as much as humanly possible! Not sure if I can hack a whole wheat free thing again, it's me as well as him as I'm still BF and I just found the whole thing a nightmare and lost loads of weight, not that we eat too much anyway but the occasional piece of toast is sometimes necessary! Plus he's much worse with sweetcorn so we're already having to avoid corn which is in much more than I realised.

I shall think again and see I have the guts (!) to do the wheat thing!

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Sep-11 17:19:43

if there are no gut problems and no obvious allergic reaction then i would say it's more likely to just be plain old reflux

it's fairly unlikely, IMO, that you would have an allergy or intolerance where the only symptom is reflux

narmada Mon 19-Sep-11 21:47:37

I wonder whether your son does actually have some sort of problem with gastric emptying - IIRC very fibrous foods (sweetcorn must be one of these) exits the stomach more slowly, as does very fatty food.

How is your DS's appetite normally, and how is his weight gain?? If he is dropping centiles/ not following some sort of pattern, then I would be tempted to conlcude that the increased appetite on domperidone was a good thing and a sign that the drug was doing its job. Again, IIRC, Delayed gastric emptying(sometimes a factor in reflux) can cause poor weight gain because the stomach always feels full and insufficient calories are taken in as a consequence.

Re the gluten exclusion - spelt contains gluten so I don't think you could rule that out as the problem unless you have done a complete elimination diet. That's really hard though, you do have my sympathy.

What kind of medical support are you getting? Have you been seen by a paedatric gastorenterologist?

Heliopolis Tue 20-Sep-11 10:07:47

The trouble is that he has excellent weight gain and is quite rotund! So doctors and paediatricians don't take it seriously. He's a bit of a comfort eater, food really seems to sort him out. Seen a gastric paediatrician who was zero help, knew less than i did about reflux, and just wanted to do a pH probe which I refused because he would find it unnecessarily distressing, he's awake all night rubbing nose and eyes at best of times. I'm into minimum medication and investigation.
It seems to me that although he doesn't have diarrhoea he does suffer from gas/bloating/cramping. I know we should do the wheat thing but dreading it, how long might it take for result? I'm even unsure it's still reflux, but he hates lying down even for nappy change and screams with hand in mouth. Tempted to reduce meds to see what happens. Maybe his digestion would be somehow more efficient without them.

nightcat Tue 20-Sep-11 10:18:15

No idea about spelt, tho I don't use it, but unfortunately reflux goes hand in hand with gluten sad
With my ds, I firts took him off dairy and he didn't eat eggs, he was temporarily better, but not for long. Only when we took out gluten, he really started to improve. Once his digestive system recovered, dairy and eggs were/are fine.
Gluten-free is not that hard, but it's almost like a diff mindset, I think you should be OK with occasional toast, but wouldn't give it to your ds. You should start seeing improvement within days.

narmada Tue 20-Sep-11 13:47:42

The weight gain is a really good sign - is the main problem that he can't comfortably sleep??

One thing to consider, if you've not already done so, is to get someone to look in his ears and check for glue ear/ chronic ear infection. This could explain the hatred of lying flat.

Just to say, my DS hates lying down for nappy changes but it's got zero to do with his reflux - it's just he hates lying down because it's boring! If you give him something to play with in his hand, then he is fine.

I think exclusion diets take at least 2 weeks to bear any fruit if they're going to - and quite possibly longer than this.

Don't dismiss investigative tests completely - if you're sure your baby is uncomfortable it is far better to find out what's wrong and alleviate whatever it is.

Heliopolis Tue 20-Sep-11 21:22:13

Nightcat, I'm going to do the wheat free thing. All geared up to start tomorrow. Did you also avoid oats which I've only just discovered also contain gluten?
Narmada, his ears are fine, it has definitely been reflux but now not sure whether also bowel related. He groans in great pain, even in his sleep, much as I sounded when in labour... He has never once lain flat on his back in his life without screaming the roof down, he generally sleeps on his tummy. So I suspect reflux still but also somewhere further down in his gut. He is still troubled as much by wind as a newborn.
Hoping for a better night, as always...

nightcat Tue 20-Sep-11 21:43:16

Yes, we did, in the transition we just used rice-based cereals/rice-cakes, but then quickly moved on to egg-based breakfast. I'd say avoid oats at first to be on the safe side, you can decide later when symptoms clear and when oats impact would be obvious.

The more I read up on gluten/wheat the more glad I feel that we got rid of it, there have been a lot of clues in the family too, but only after we have done it with my ds, others realised what was going on.

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