Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to Deal with Reflux

In light of Monday's post on reflux medications, I thought I would share some of the first options which should be looked at if you have a child who is dealing with reflux.

Reflux, also known as Gastoesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is very common. There are many, easy dietary fixes that work most of the time. There's a time and place for medication. But, many times an issue such as reflux is easily resolved just by changing the diet. And also looking into other health problems.

The first three things I ask when talking to someone about reflux is:

-Is the child dairy free (cow-milk based dairy products in particular)?

This is an extremely common problem. It's either a milk allergy, lactose intolerance (SO common!), casein intolerance, or the child's digestive tract just has issues digesting dairy. Cow milk-based products, in particular, are very hard to digest and cause a lot of irritation in the GI tract.

Going dairy free is really not that hard. It's nice if you can have something to replace the cow-milk dairy. We raise goats for that reason. But, there is also almond milk, rice milk and soy milk. Although, I recommend staying away from soy because of it's negative affects on the thyroid.

-Is the child gluten free (wheat, barley & rye)?

Gluten intolerances, Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy are all extremely common in both the population with DS and the general population. A gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease often times go hand-in-hand with a dairy intolerance. The proteins are very similar and therefore equally hard to digest. Gluten can cause a lot of GI issues, with reflux being one of them.

Going gluten free is a little more challenging than going dairy free. But, it's really not all that hard either. Our whole family (13 of us!) are gluten-free. Initially it was a little overwhelming, but there is so much you can do to replace gluten, it's quite easy. It just takes making things a little differently. Because gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease is so common, there are many equivalents to the regular gluten-made foods. Everything is made with rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, garbanzo bean flour, cornmeal, corn flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, etc. It just takes learning what to use differently.

-Does the child have any thyroid problems?

This is something that one may not initially think is involved with reflux, but it is. Especially hypothyroidism or a high TSH. This would definitely be something to look into, if you haven't already.

Taking thyroid medications is a quick way to fix the thyroid. Although, one must be careful when treating the thyroid with medications, if there is not a true thyroid problem (such as JUST a high TSH, but no other symptoms).

Coconut Oil also really helps deal with the thyroid and keep it under control. Low Zinc and Iron also play a big role in a high TSH and poor thyroid function. Those would be two other things to get tested and look into supplementing with them.

You can also go to the extreme of trying a gut healing diet, such as the GAPS diet, for dealing with reflux.
This will help with the reflux, because it will deal with healing the whole gut and get to the core of the issue, as to why there is any reflux.

Some links for the GAPS diet are:

Personally, I'd try the top 3 things first - dairy, gluten & thyroid - and then look into doing the extreme of a gut healing diet. This is what we've done and so far, O is not on the GAPS diet. He may be on it someday, but as of right now, he is doing really well avoiding cow (& sheep!) dairy, gluten, and has a good TSH.

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Violeta Corona said...

I used to be on the synthetic drugs for hypothyroidism and it failed. I now take 5 of the dessicated porcine thyroid and my blood result is good. I still feel lethargic but at least I can trim my yard.

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