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Dietitian Q/A

Because of the contents of some questions and the large number we receive, the MUSC Dietitians only answer selected questions. Although we discourage questions regarding personal health problems, scheduling an appointment with the outpatient dietitian to address these concerns is encouraged. Appointments can be made after a physician referral is received.

Enter a keyword or phrase:
 Question:  My 7 year old son has been diagnosed with reflux esophagitis. We know his acid levels are at 4.7%, even while taking Protonix, carafate & Pepcid. Rather than taking the surgery route (Nissen Fundaplication), we'd like to know what benefit a nutritionist/dietician might be. Any & all information is greatly appreciated.


Reflux esophagitis is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). The first line of treatment is the medications that he is on already. However, a GERD diet in conjunction with the medications can often improve the esophagitis. This is were the dietitian can be beneficial. He/she can instruct you on a GERD diet and work with you to set up a diet that will help reduce the reflux into the esophagus and still allow your son to get the nutrition he needs to grow.  Also there are some tricks to eating that can help reduce the reflux as well. For instance, small frequent meals and not eating too close to bedtime can be helpful. The dietitian can work with you to set up the eating schedule that fits your and your son's life that will add these tricks in. If your son is overweight or obese this can make his GERD worse. If this is the case, a dietitian can help your son lose weight in a healthy way. Finally, you can find information about a GERD diet on the internet, but not all of that information will be correct. The dietitian can give you accurate information about what does and does not work.  

If the medication and diet together do not improve the reflux esophagitis, then you may have to consider the surgery at that time. For some people, medication and lifestyle changes are not enough and the surgery may be needed. Seeing a dietitian and getting your son started on the best diet for his GERD may ease your decision about the surgery. At least you would know you've tried all the other options first.

Answered: 10/30/2012

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