I had three friends call me up this week for help/advice about their kids’ digestive troubles. This signals to me that many others must be having the same issues and it’s time for a blog post to share the knowledge!

First, my friend Cecile called me about her 10-year-old daughter, Megan. Megan had pretty much refused to eat for most of week. She said that everything she ate hurt and that Megan had no appetite. Cecile told me that she looked very pale and at times green, during a pain episode. Their doctor had already ordered a gliadin test (for gluten allergy) and hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying red blood cells) test. Megan’s bowel movements were normal in texture and frequency and there was no blood in the stool, toilet bowl or left on the toilet paper. Here’s what I told Cecile:

If the child (or adult) is experiencing significant pain after eating, that usually means there is inflammation present. Now, the gastrointestinal tract may be inflamed for any number of reasons, and it takes time and testing to figure out what exactly are the underlying causative elements.

What’s Wrong With GI Exploratory Tests?

The medical treatment route at this point is usually to perform invasive GI exploratory tests (endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, barium swallow, etc.) to determine the actual physical markers. Personally, if it were my child, I would never submit to these tests unless every previous indicator (starting with blood tests) pointed to cancer. And even then, with my knowledge base, I would try other natural treatments first.

The reason you don’t want to rush your child into the GI exploratory tests is that firstly, they are seriously traumatic and frightening for the child. And in many cases, painful. Secondly, the GI tests significantly alter the bacterial flora in the gut and leave it wide open to secondary infection – in many cases, the scope itself infects the colon. In the case of colonoscopies, the colonoscope itself can cause colitis (called gluteraldehyde-induced colitis).

So your child may not have had Crohn’s or colitis initially, but by the time the gastroenterologist gets done with him, he may have. Download my What You Need To Know About Colonoscopy eBook for all the details (from peer-reviewed medical publications) on the risks of these supposedly “standard” procedures and what you can do before and afterward to protect your child (or yourself) if you truly need to have one done.

So, in my personal opinion, there is no need to have any medical exploratory tests done at this point (unless your gut is telling you otherwise) and Cecile has plenty of time to figure out what’s causing Megan’s intestinal inflammation/pain.

Usually, intestinal inflammation and pain is caused by one or a combination of these factors:

  • Pathogenic (disease-causing) bio-terrain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Food allergy or food intolerance
  • Stressful or upsetting emotional component
  • A standard western diet
  • Constipation or spastic colon

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these causative factors…

1. Pathogenic bio-terrain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This means too much (overgrowth, or infection) bad bacteria, yeast/Candida, fungal organisms or hybrids, viruses, etc. and not enough good bacteria (probiotics).

2. Food allergy or more often, food intolerance. Food intolerance is a tricky thing to nail down, because children often have tolerance thresholds for a particular substance. For example, if Joey is intolerant to wheat, he may be okay to have one wheat-containing item twice a week, but if he goes above that, he gets symptoms. Or, he might be okay if the wheat item does not contain yeast, but add the wheat and yeast together and it tips him over his threshold. This is why careful, methodical testing is necessary and yes, this is VERY difficult.

It is so much easier to take the drug your doctor wants to give you to suppress your child’s symptoms. But know that this will just force the damage deeper into the child’s body. If y