Going to College with Reflux: A Mom's Point of View

Jan Gambino Health Guide
  • Somehow we both made it through the first year of college. She survived and even thrived. The cafeteria food didn’t give her an ulcer, only the usual digestive discomfort that everyone gets. Now we are getting packed and ready for year two. I am still worried about how she will manage her acid reflux at school but we have both learned a lot.


    Here is what I learned about sending my teen with acid reflux to college:


    ·      Selective Listening: I tried to give her helpful information about managing her reflux such as how to remember to take her medication. She rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. This is normal and expected not to mention annoying. Chances are she will forget everything you tell her. At the first sign of a problem I am 100% positive she will call or text you right away. So stay calm and wait.

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    ·      Over 18: Most likely she is over 18 years old so she can sign the consent form to receive medical care. This also means you cannot call the doctor directly and ask for information unless she specifically requests that you have access. If you are used to managing her care, you will need to get your name on the paperwork or she will need to talk to the doctor and manage her own care.

    ·      Packing List: She will be focused on the college dorm list and choosing bedding to coordinate with her roommate while you are focused on the reflux medication list. Help her find a suitable plastic bin or bag for her over-the-counter and prescription medications for reflux. Talk to her about how to get refills before she is down to the last pill. You may have to endure more eye rolling and sighing.

    ·      New Doctors: After seeing the same doctors since childhood, it may be shocking to have all new doctors, office staff and procedures for getting an appointment and calling in for medical advice. Chances are, you handled everything and your college student has limited or no experience dealing with this part of medical care. If possible, make a visit to health services when you get to campus and find out the basics.


    Between the new foods, lack of sleep and distance, we were able to manage college. I still worried because that is my job as her mother. I think she did a great job finding her way and managing reflux at college. She even asked me to help her restock her medication bin this year. It turns out she was the “go to” person on the floor when anyone had a stomachache!


Published On: August 24, 2010