Over the past few years, many adult acid reflux medications have gone over the counter (OTC). For many patients this is an easy way to treat short-term acid issues. Unfortunately, the ease of acquiring these medications can also lead to their misuse. This is especially true in the area of treating infants and children with acid reflux.
There are several issues that can lead frustrated parents to self-medicate their babies with acid reflux. One issue is the** soaring cost of health care**. It can be very expensive to obtain an accurate and definitive diagnosis of infant acid reflux. The gold standard of testing is to scope the patient. The scope generally requires an outpatient procedure during which a tube with a camera thoroughly examines the gastrointestinal tissues. This test can be quite expensive for parents who are short on funds.
Some parents who can afford the testing for infant acid reflux are simply terrified of putting their child through it. It can be quite daunting to consider putting your baby under anesthesia for a test when the medications are so easy to obtain. While there are risks to testing, most GIs will tell you that it is best to have a clear picture of what you are treating.
Other parents site problems getting their pediatrician or GI to acknowledge the severity of their child’s problem. This can be especially frustrating for parents as they watch their child suffer. Once a parent begins medicating their child without physician supervision or approval, it can be very hard for them to be honest with their child’s doctor. If the child is already on OTC medication but is still in pain, it can be tempting just to increase the dose on your own.
Most people self-medicating their child are good parents who think they are doing what is right for their child. If you are in the same boat, stay tuned In my next blog we will discuss why self-medicating can be so dangerous.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.