Reflux and diarrhea. WTF?

My 4yo is suffering from some mystery ailment. She seems to have both reflux and diarrhea - fun times all around - and it’s been going on for a while. Now, we’re in regular communication with her pediatrician, who seems to think this is rather unusual. So, I turn to the Dope, where weird medical conditions are discussed with enthusiasm. Have you ever experienced these two GI issues at the same time?

Yup. In my daughter’s case, it was gluten intolerance. That’s only one of a gazillion and four possibilities, but it’s something to bring up with your doc, especially if you’re of Northern European decent and she eats as many Goldfish crackers as most 4 year olds. :slight_smile:

One think I’ll say about that: if your doctor decides it’s worth doing a couple of tests for Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, do NOT change her diet until those tests are done. Going off gluten will repair the damage to a 4 year old in 3-4 months, but it will also make the tests false negative. If you take her off gluten, your only option for later testing is to put her back on gluten for weeks to make her sick enough to show up positive on the tests. Keep her on her regular diet until the testing is complete.

Sigh. That would be very sad. We are a very carb-centric family. She’s been off diary for a while, and that’s been hard enough, but going gluten-free would be really rough. I will keep my fingers crossed that the zantac we’re pumping into her does the trick.

Did the diarrhoea precede the treatment with Ranitidine? It (Zantac) can cause GI upset and diarrhoea in some people. Just a thought.

I suspect your paediatrician will want to try all the non invasive tests before they try the invasive ones. Unfortunately that’ll mean putting poop samples in jars and keeping stool charts and food diaries.

Good luck!

I was going to say it’s probably a food allergy.

The whole house doesn’t have to go gluten free, either. Just her.

It can be viral too. I remember (as in, cannot ever drive from my memory) one Christmas break, where all 3 of my daughters were in the grip of vomit & diarrhea for about a week. That was when I completely embraced the whole “better to catch vomit in your hands than let it get on the carpet” parenting philosophy.

I won’t lie, the transition was rough. Gluten free specialty foods are a lot more expensive than gluten containing foods. But it really only took about 2 months before it became second nature. I try to keep her substitutions as close to what the rest of the family is eating as possible, but I can’t afford to feed us all gluten free specialty foods, so I do have to do a little more work. If we’re having pasta, three of us eat the $.79 semolina pasta, and I boil another smaller pot for a serving of her $5.99/lb gluten free pasta. We eat $2.39 wheat bread, she eats $6.99 gluten free bread.

Mostly, though, we do a lot more rice and potatoes and fewer nights of pasta and biscuits. So we all end up “gluten free” those nights, but not by using expensive specialty products, just by planning meals where the starch is naturally gluten free.

But, like I said, there’s a good chance that gluten isn’t your little one’s problem. I’m certainly not one of these the-sky-is-falling-gluten-is-killing-us-all moms. Gluten intolerance/celiac’s is on the rise, but it’s still not overwhelmingly prevalent.

Here’s hoping it’s something simple, curable and cheap! :slight_smile:

I just came in to post that I empathize.

But then, where can she write all of her innermost secrets?

Thanks. The diarrhea did precede the zantac. We dropped off stool samples yesterday. (That is one of those things where you realize that parenting just doesn’t pay enough.) And she’s still complaining of reflux symptoms, after two weeks on zantac. Sigh.


Standard disclaimers about not being a doctor, etc. etc., but I personally find that Prilosec works much much better. I wouldn’t dare give it to her without consulting a doctor though.

Reflux=diarrhea in my world. Always has been this way and probably always will be. It doesn’t matter if I’m self medicating with OTC Ranitidine or taking prescription Protonix or just using TUMS. If I have heartburn, there’s probably a 95% chance I’m going to have diarrhea at the same time.

To my knowledge, the only food issue I have is a minor lactose intolerance.