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Medscape: How Can Clinicians Distinguish Food Allergy and GERD in Young Kids?

By Lorraine L. Janeczko

The debate about a possible link between food allergy (FA) and pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) continues, and more, better-designed research is needed, a position paper by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports.

The report offers consensus-based recommendations and a graphical decision pathway to guide providers through assessing and treating food allergy-related GERD. And the authors call for further, better-designed related research.

Food allergy and GERD are common in babies under 1 year of age and can lead to bothersome GERD, the authors write.

"An extensive literature search has found that whilst food proteins, in particular cow milk protein, can be a contributing factor to FA-associated" GERD, distinguishing between FA and non–FA-associated GERD is difficult, lead author Rosan Meyer, RD, PhD, senior lecturer at Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues from the Academy task force on non-IgE mediated allergy, write in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.

Jay M. Portnoy, MD, specialist in pediatric allergy and immunology and medical director of telemedicine at Children's Mercy Kansas City, said: "While most physicians believe that food allergy contributes to GERD, the evidence for the relationship is minimal. Reflux often occurs regardless of what food is eaten," said Portnoy, was not associated with the research.

Before removing a food from the diet, it's important to determine whether that food is causing the problem, he urged. 

"Blaming a food is easy. Food allergy is often suspected to cause symptoms it does not cause," he said. "This unfounded blame can lead to unnecessary avoidance, reduce a family's quality of life, and cause malnutrition.


Read the full article via Medscape

Children's Mercy Food Allergy Center