Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Making Connections

The Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER Volunteer) constantly receives requests for information and support from members around the world. Through our network of volunteers, we make connections and link parents with common concerns.

A concerned mother in Europe sent an email about her teenage son who attends a prestigious boarding school for choristers. He was suffering from terrible reflux symptoms and needed information to give to the school and the choir director. While I knew absolutely nothing about the incidence of reflux problems in professional choristers, I knew that many voice disorders were associated with reflux. The family was connected with a PAGER Association parent volunteer and sent information to give to the school. A few months later, I found a research article about gastroesophageal reflux in professional opera singers in Rome. According to the study, there is a significantly higher incidence of reflux symptoms reported in professional opera singers compared to the general population. I immediately sent this information on to the family. So the next time a parent has a question about reflux and professional chorister, I will be prepared!

Recently, the mother of a baby contacted me and described a series of symptoms that were worrisome to her. In her description she mentioned that her baby grizzles after each feeding. While I had heard many interesting descriptions of reflux symptoms, the term “grizzles” was new to me. I asked the mother for clarification and she said the term is used to describe a baby who cries and whines. She is from Australia and said it is a common term there.

Often we talk to parents when they are in the process of getting a diagnosis or at the onset of treatment so it is helpful to follow up and see how everyone is doing. I had the opportunity to talk with one mom several months after our initial contact and found out her baby was diagnosed with diabetes. This was pretty alarming to me because the baby had pretty typical symptoms and responded well to treatment from the pediatrician. Further, I had never heard of a baby being diagnosed with diabetes. So before you start becoming upset, keep in mind that I have talked with hundreds of parents of refluxers and the vast majority of babies out grow reflux without any complications or lasting problems. Also, our organization serves a high number of babies and children with atypical symptoms. So before you run to the pediatrician and demand a test for diabetes, keep in mind that your baby most likely grizzles all day from reflux and not from something else.

You are welcome to join our network and gain information and support from parents near and far. The Parent Forums at www.reflux.org allow you to leave a message, exchange information and gain support from parents with common concerns and questions. If you want to be linked with a parent volunteer, contact me at refluxmom2@earthlink.net.


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