The following article touches on the importance of identifying the possibility of allergy and Intolerance when a baby presents with reflux. Through my own research, and experience, I have found that allergies and intolerances to foods go hand in hand with the condition.
It is important to remember that intolerances and allergies can, and in most cases will, increase the severity of reflux issues.
If your baby has a suspected allergy or intolerance to baby formula or solids, no amount of prescribed medication will bring reflux under control.
It is only when the problem food is identified and removed that the symptoms will improve.
What is the difference in allergy V Intolerance?
Food allergies (IgE mediated allergies) can happen when our body's immune systems mistakenly react to a food protein instead of a bacteria or virus. Common food allergies include milk, eggs, wheat, fish and peanuts. However, any food protein can cause a reaction. About 5% of children under the age of 3 are allergic to one or more foods.

While food is one of the most common allergens, medicine, insect bites, latex and exercise can also cause a reaction.
A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs and can cause a range of symptoms.
In some cases, an allergic reaction to a food can be severe or life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction. It can progress very quickly and may cause death without proper medical intervention.
In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems and can take a while to show a reaction, parents seldom know what foods has caused the reaction as it can be over days even weeks.
Blood tests in babies are said to be inconclusive and may come back clear; however, symptoms or reactions are a strong indication that a baby may not have an allergy but intolerance (Non-IgE mediated allergies).
This list is an indication of some of the symptoms your baby/child may present with, not all of them need to be experienced to receive a diagnosis from your medical professional or therapist.
Signs and symptoms of intolerance:
  • Watery explosive stool
  • Constipation that can become chronic
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Heightened reflux
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Eczema like symptoms
  • Rash or pimples that resemble baby acne but gradually get worse
  • Red ring around the perennial area of the bum that cream won't clear and can eventually bleed
  • Swollen puffy eyes
  • Scratching excessively
  • Generally unwell and cross
  • Stomach issues, cramping, bloating
  • Blue vein across the nose, also known as the sugar bug, or Kanmushi in Chinese medicine. When this vein is visible, it is said to be a warning that the child may react to sugar. NB: No scientific studies have shown a link between sugar bugs and any clinical condition.
  • Allergic shiners. These are dark circles under the eyes (bags). This is caused by congestion, which results in swelling of the small blood vessels under the skin.
Behavioural and emotional issues:

Our brain and gut communicate with each other on a constant basis. Some professionals believe that the gut and the brain should be regarded as one.
If you have ever experienced the sensation of butterflies or worrying gut wrenching feeling, you may understand this concept better. When we are emotional or upset or worried we find eating impossible, or some people feel the need to comfort eat when upset.
Our gut is deep rooted with cells of the enteric nervous system (ENS); allergy and intolerance can impact a child’s behaviour and academic performance greatly, removing offending foods and treating the gut can improve a multitude of problems.
Further reading on reflux, allergy and the impact the gut has to the brain can be found in my app Infant Acid Reflux. The app can be found on Google play and iTunes.
Expert in Reflux in Babies and Young Children