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Digestive Disorders

Sudden onset of acid reflux in 11 year old

03/18/2008

Question:

My 11 year-old son had the stomach flu about six weeks ago where he vomited violently for two days. Since then he has had acid reflux. He "spits up" after he eats or drinks. His stomach often is in pain and he has not developed pain (a burning sensation) on his face, shoulders and back. I took him to the doctor who referred him to a pediateic gastroenterology specialist. He scoped him a week ago and said all he could find was irritated lining in his stomach. He put him on sucralfate. It does not appear to be helping. He continues to spit up, suffer intense stomach pain at times and continues to have episodes where he feels his skin is burning. This was a healthy kid before he got the stomach flu - now he is barely making it through half a day of school. I feel the specialist is about to give up on us and am desperate to figure out what is going on with my son. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Answer:

Dear Concerned mom,

Sorry for the delay in response. So far I think that all the appropriate steps have been taken. It would be very uncommon for retching or vomiting to cause reflux. However, given his symptoms I think it may be worthwhile to obtain an Upper GI. This is an X-ray where your son will be made to swallow some contrast and X-rays will be taken to see if indeed he does have reflux. An upper endoscopy would show if he has developed a large hiatal hernia, but the X-ray will give us a little more information about the mechanics of your son's stomach. Have his pediatrician order the test.

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Response by:

Prakash  Gatta, MD Prakash Gatta, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati