Help for a Child with Gluten Sensitivity

by Cindy
(SF, CA)

I'm writing about my 9 year old nephew as he's having some ongoing GI issues. This is a long message as my sister has been keeping track of everything, sorry and thanks for any advice you can offer.

Tyler has had stomach pain and vomiting every couple of weeks since March. It all started in March with a severe stomach ache. I was upstairs putting the baby to bed and my husband came up and said that Tyler was downstairs on the couch crying and needed me.

I went downstairs and he was laying on his back clutching his stomach, crying and saying, "help me" which was so unusual for him. He's rarely sick except for a few winter colds, but never had stomach problems. I made him use the bathroom and drink some water to see if he was just constipated, but he wasn't.

After 1/2 hour I brought him to the ER. By the time we were seen by a doctor he was starting to feel better. The doctor felt around and was certain it was not his appendix and said to follow up with his doctor, which I did. While waiting to hear back from Tyler's primary doctor regarding an appointment with him, the cycle of vomiting started with occasional diarrhea. It's happened on weekends and even this summer so I know it's not stress or school related.

It always happens sometime between 3AM and 7AM--he wakes up and throws up violently for a few hours until he collapses in exhaustion on the bathroom floor and sleeps for a while. After a morning of rest and no food, he's usual back to himself by the afternoon. This vomiting is interspersed with mornings of feeling nauseous. One morning he was nauseous as we drove to school and just before we got to school he yelled for me to pull over and he threw up a bunch of times in the gutter near school!

I called his doctor and asked for a referral to a GI. We went to Stanford and they ordered blood
tests and stool tests. Everything came back negative. The GI went on vacation beginning of June but Tyler had two back-to-back episodes of vomiting. I was just fed up--it was too much for his little body and I wanted to get it figured out so I called and asked the nurse practitioner to order an ultrasound and x-rays, which she did.

WE just got the results back yesterday and those showed no abnormalities.

Here's the timeline of different events as I tried to keep track:

March 14th: ER
April: three episodes that month; 1X nausea, 2X threw up
May: one or two episodes of vomiting in early May
May 21st: nauseous upon wake up, 1/2 hour later two episodes of vomiting and diarrhea
June 13th: threw up about 13 times between 4AM and 7AM
June 15th: threw up once at 3:30Am and then had severe diarrhea for the rest of the morning
So far he hasn't thrown up in July.

Before we saw the doctor for the first time, my thoughts were: peptic or duodenal ulcer, gall stones, pancreas or kidney issues, spleen, heart condition, hepatitis. It seems like we've ruled out everything but the last two.

Here are the different studies:

1. Preliminary KUB and fluoroscopic upper gastrointestinal study was performed; no significant abnormality
2. Ultrasound Abdomen; liver, spleen pancreas and gallbladder appear normal. no dilation of bile or pancreatic ducts. both kidneys normal. no free fluid or lymphadenopathy.
3. Stool sample: normal (I have the order in the car, not in front of me but they were looking for parasites and the thing that causes ulcers--I'm tired, can't remember what it's called)
4. Blood tests: looked at lots of things including white and red cells, IgA, IgG, glucose,sed rate, bilirubin. All normal. What would show if he's anemic?

I remember reading something you posted about gluten/celiac and saliva tests vs. blood testing, they haven't done any saliva tests yet.

Kerri, my nephew Tyler is healthy otherwise, I just feel so bad for the little guy. Any ideas????

Thank you so much,

Comments for Help for a Child with Gluten Sensitivity

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Poor Tyler..
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Hi Cindy,

Wow! That's just NOT a fun situation to be in. Very scary.

Well, I don't know what is going on, but here's what my first couple of thoughts are.

First: The first thought is food allergies- specifically it could be either Gluten Sensitivity or a reaction to dairy. Try taking him off of both dairy and gluten to see if that helps.

If he doesn't have any reactions while off of the dairy and gluten, then you could reintroduce one at a time with PLENTY of time in between to see if one or the other is the problem.

Second: Since this all began suddenly, I would still suspect some sort of intestinal 'bug' even though his stool test has come back negative.

Hospital stool tests are just not very accurate, and in the hospital, we would NEVER send just ONE stool sample, we'd send three in a row because most parasites are difficult to find and requires skill and patience that most hospital labs that are rushed and busy just don't have.

I use an Intestinal Pathogen Test from a company that was created because of one naturopathic doctor's frustration with regular parasite testing...

So, that's where I would start anyway... Hope that this helps...

Kerri Knox RN Immune Health Queen

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune System Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Immune System


PS: If you found this website helpful, please consider using the
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by: Anonymous

My daughter was 7 years old when she started experiencing bouts of illness very similar to this so I definitely feel for you and especially the little guy. I think it is wise to eliminate gluten and dairy and to follow Kerri's advice to a T.

I would also mention it's great that Kerri told you that it takes skill and patience to find the pathogen (if that is the problem). I was surprised to find out how many there are and how tricky they are to find and treat.

In my case (this was about 10 years ago), after many doctors telling me that my daughter had the flu (every 2-3 weeks over a four month span) I wasn't buying it so I took her to a naturopath. It took some time (about another 4 months) but we were successful in treating the pathogen.

Good Luck

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