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Advice needed on possibility of intolerence - where do I start? GP not too helpful

(9 Posts)
hippmummy Wed 04-Jul-07 07:25:11

DS2 is 20 months old and has suffered from mild to moderate eczema since he was about 10 months old. He has also had some hayfever type symptoms this year - very itchy eyes. The main problem recently though is that he has a permanently stuffy nose. It makes sleeping at night really difficult.

Our doctor has put it down to childhood eczema (prescribed creams) and we have anti-histamines for when the itching is bad but, I know its just treating the symptoms and I dont particularly want to have him on medication everyday for the rest of his life.

I suspect he may have an intolerence to something (possibly dairy) but dont know where to start. Im worried about just cutting out dairy as a trial as he still drinks quite a lot of (goats) milk and dont have enough knowledge about what Im doing!

Any advice welcome, thanks.

barney2 Wed 04-Jul-07 07:36:29

My DD2 had intolerance to anything that contained cows milk, protein, lactose etc. She would have eczema flare up on her legs, arms and trunk and in some cases a rash. She would also have an extremely bunged up nose and would be sick each time she had anything that contained dairy.

It took me weeks to convince my GP there was something wrong with her - he would just simply say 'sicky baby'. It was when I took her to be weighed that we noticed her weight had dramatically gone down so I went to see the HV who suggested she was intolerant and to try putting her on to soya (prescribed) and soya yoghurts - she was about 6 months old at the time. She was fine from that point on and at 2yrs old she grew out of the intolerance and is now back on cows milk & products.

What I did learn about intolerance is that when the stomach receives anything that contains protein, lactose etc it automatically lines itself and when she was sick she would vomit up the milk followed by a very heavy snotty substance - like phglem.

I don't know if this helps but I would recommend that you make an appt to see your Health Visitor. For the eczema we had oil to go in the bath (prescribed .... but I can't remember the name of it!) which was excellent although not much fun because there was no bubbles but it prevented the skin from drying out any further. We also put E45 on her skin after the bath.

hippmummy Wed 04-Jul-07 07:46:17

Thanks barney - actually thinking back, when I switched from breastfeeding to formula he did have a problem with cow's milk formula (very mucousy sick) which is why we put him on goat's milk formula and normal goats milk since then.

I think the goats milk has just been making his symptoms milder that if he had been on cows, but I'm starting to think that dairy in general may be an issue.

barney2 Wed 04-Jul-07 10:23:20

When my dd was born she took to formula quite well at the beginning and it was when she was about 12 weeks old her vomitting became quite serious - so I was advised to try her with half formula and half cows - and her symptons became alot worse. She'd take just one mouthful and it would come up straight away along with the contents of her stomach at the time followed by quite a lot of phglem and mucus type fluid. I was told by the specialist she was eventually referred to that it is the stomach's natural way of dealing with something it is unable to take - it lines the gut with the phglem - which made sense.

The eczema was quite bad - I still can't remember the name of the oil we put in her bath but it did help - it didn't smell very nice but did the trick. Whenever she was ill (ie sick) the eczema would magically appear and it would be all over her trunk, front and back.

As your ds is 20 months old have you considered cutting out dairy altogether and just give him squash or water to drink and try the Alpro soya yoghurts as a pudding etc? You can use soya milk (Alpro again) in cooking etc.

If you're worried about cutting out goats milk why not just wean him onto soya or another type of drink gradually or water down the goats milk? That way he might go off it and want to try something else?

hippmummy Wed 04-Jul-07 17:15:00

I did actually buy some rice milk today so will try him with it before bed - it tastes odd to me but is quite sweet so hopefully he will like it.

The main reason I was concerned about cutting out dairy as an experiment was the reduction of calcium and fat in his diet. But I've noticed that all the dairy free milks have added calcium anyway.
What did you do about making sure your DD was getting enough fat? - I always thought children got quite alot of that from dairy products.

barney2 Wed 04-Jul-07 18:03:11

I didn't worry about the fat issue - I was just more concerned about the immediate problem which was the sickness and general poor health/weight loss.

She lived off of a lot of fruit and veg and cooked meats - minced beef, sausages etc.

If it is just the eczema that you are worried about at the moment and he is well in himself I'd gradually wean him off of dairy products - dairy is known to cause a problem with excessive phlegm and tummy upsets etc.

As for vitamins etc - I used and am still using Abidec drops - I was advised to do this by the HV because there are obviously some vitamins that are gained from milk and dairy that she was missing out on. They don't taste of anything and you can conceal them in a drink, especially the first drink of the day when kids are at their thirstiest.

Does your ds eat eggs? I tried eggs with dd but she was allergic to them too. I found this out by smearing a tiny amount of raw egg onto her skin (where she couldn't reach it) and if the skin reacted I'd know she was allergic to eggs too - which she was.

Dairy intolerance is quite common - I found this out as a result of my dd - before this I knew nothing about it. There are loads of different things you can give your ds if he is intolerant - just remember to read all the labels!!

hippmummy Wed 04-Jul-07 19:57:11

Thanks barney - you've been really helpful. DS can eat eggs, so no worries there.

The eczema is an issue but it's not really severe. The biggest problem at the moment is the permanently blocked up nose. I'll give the dairy avoidance a real go and see what happens. Thanks for the tip about vitamins too.

I'll let you know how it goes x

barney2 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:33:48

Hi - that's ok. You're welcome.

It's good to hear your ds is ok with eggs - they contain so much goodness.

Cows milk is known to cause snotty noses/blocked tubes. My eldest DD drank milk by the pint and ended up with glue ear by the time she was 5yrs old. The surgeon who fitted her with grommits asked us if she was a milk drinker, to which we replied yes, and he added that milk can cause a build up of phglem. She had cold after cold and at the age of about 6 she decided she didn't want to drink milk anymore and since then has been absolutely fine. She used to talk nasally (IYKWIM!) too.

By the sounds of it your ds is slightly intolerant but fortunately not ill with it which is good news. You may find that if you take him off dairy now in a few months/a years time he'll be fine and able to take it again.

I'd strongly recommend Alpro yoghurts as a pudding - they're actually quite nice! And Sainsburys do a very nice 'Free From' range - cakes/biscuits/nibbles that are dairy free.

Good luck!

hippmummy Sun 15-Jul-07 09:12:49

Hi Barney - just wanted to update you

We are 10 days in to the dairy-free diet and have great results!

DS2's stuffed up nose at night time is gone. About 2 days after I took him of dairy his nose started to clear - constantly running and was chasing him round the house with a box of tissues . At night I was listening in and he was breathing easily through his nose (had previously been in 2 or 3 times a night with olbas oil because he kept waking up).

His itchy puffy eyes have gone, and the eczema on the back of his knees is looking much less red!

Thanks for the advice you gave. I found the switch to dairy-free alternatives much less hassle than I expected.

It looks like this will be a long term change so will go and see the HV for some vitamin supplement advice.

Thanks again x

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