Finding the right doctor to treat reflux can be easy or hard. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get a referral from a friend or a co-worker that matches your needs right away. You and the doctor develop a working relationship and over time, the reflux gets better. In most cases, a pediatrician will be the only doctor you need to diagnose and treat reflux. A few babies with complications from reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) will need to have additional treatment from a pediatric gastroenterologist. You may have to network with friends, family or co-workers to find a doctor in your area, who accepts your health insurance and doesn’t have a long waiting list to get in.
While I had a wonderful network of friends with young children, no one else had a baby quite like mine. When I talked about Rebecca’s health issues, I received sympathy and confused stares, not recommendations about a “wonderful gastro doctor”. But the story has a happy ending. I found my wonderful gastro doctor by networking with members of the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER) in my area. Even though I thought I was the only mother in the history of the world to have a baby with reflux, I did find another mom who lives close by. She was kind enough to talk with me about her child and she told me about the local pediatric gastroenterologist who helped her. Needless to say, as soon as I finished talking with her, I called the office and made an appointment. After waiting three long weeks for the appointment and experiencing months of frustration with ineffective treatments, I met the doctor. It was such a relief to find a doctor who understood my struggles, listened to my concerns and offered treatments that really worked. I know he spent at least an hour with us on the first appointment.
I have talked with many reflux moms and I know there are many wonderful pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologists near and far who are helping refluxers feel better. Sometimes you and the doctor develop an effective working relationship from the start. Other times, you have to get to know each other first or develop strategies to make your time together effective. In the early days, I remember coming into the appointment with the gastroenterologist armed with a long list of questions. I hardly finished one question before asking another question. Over time, I realized that my doctor was not going to run for the door before we talked about my concerns. I relaxed and he relaxed too.
If you are looking for a doctor to treat reflux, I hope you will network with people who know you well such as your doctor, family and friends. It is also important to network with other parents who have lived the life and understand reflux.
Published On: June 10, 2007