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DS, 8, recurring stomach ache (+ aspergers - relevant?)

(3 Posts)
MyFeetAche Sat 29-Oct-16 23:17:51

DS(8) suffers from recurring stomach ache. Usually it's to the left of his stomach, a little above his hip, though it can sometimes change location. Also, he sometimes complains of 'stomach ache in his back'. He started complaining of it about two years ago, every once in a while, but now he complains almost daily. He can be literally doubled over in pain and crawling around on the floor, or just complaining of soreness. Often he is quite subdued and pale at the same time. They usually last about 40mins to an hour. He also says that it makes him feel hungry when he is full and full when he is hungry, so he can't tell whether he is hungry or not. Sometimes, but not always, he feels a little better after going to the toilet.

A little history:
- he has aspergers. To begin with, the stomach ache often occurred just before we were expecting visitors to arrive, so I put it down to anxiety. He has been struggling more than usual at school since September, and the stomach aches have increased in frequency (I can't tell whether this is coincidental or a consequence of his increased tension).
- as a baby, he was very colicky. He was BF and my HV suggested I eliminate milk/dairy from my diet. This had a significant positive effect, but was by no means a cure! He was still very colicky, but not as brutally colicky as before.
- he has had terrible bouts of eczema (bleeding from top to toe). Thankfully, this is not an issue at the moment. He also has asthma-type symptoms, but no formal diagnosis.
- other than occasional diarrhea, he rarely suffers from any other kind of stomach upset (I can only think of two times when he has had sickness).
- he has been tested for kidney infection, which was negative, in response to the 'stomach ache in his back'. The GP didn't really have any answers, but I appreciate it's difficult to assess as by the time he has an appointment, the pain has gone.

So, having consulted Dr Google, I think there may be two or three possibilities. Either stomach migraines, something akin to IBS, or an intolerance to some food type. (His diet this week has been quite restrictive - very little dairy, no eggs - and he's been suffering as much as ever, but he has had a lot of 'beige food' (usually his diet is pretty healthy - plenty of fruit and veg) so I'm wondering whether gluten might be the culprit?).

Does anyone have any experience of anything similar, and what advice can you give? I feel like there's more I can do to minimise this for him, but I don't really have any idea of which is most likely, and therefore, which to tackle first. Any ideas?

moosemama Tue 01-Nov-16 22:54:44

Ds1, now 14 has Aspergers and had very similar symptoms to your ds, with the addition of never having solid stools from when he was weaned until we removed gluten from his diet as a trial - until then we kept being told that it was 'toddler diarrhoea'. The difference was amazing, the diarrhoea stopped and he grew faster in that year than he ever had before (we was tiny for his age).

I would say though, don't do what we did, because we had to put him back onto gluten so that he could be tested for Coeliacs and he was so ill after he went back onto it we nearly called the whole thing off. Then he caught Norovirus the week before the blood test and hardly ate anything for most of the week, resulting in him not having enough gluten in his system anyway.

They did the test and it was negative, although they thought that was possibly because of the norovirus making the sample invalid, but we were advised by his paediatrician to keep him gluten free anyway, as the improvement both health wise and in growth etc had been so marked.

We were given the option of repeating the blood test, but to be honest, we really couldn't face making him ill again by putting him back on gluten containing foods for several weeks and we wouldn't put him through the biopsy test anyway, as he wouldn't have handled it well (he has health anxiety as it is).

Paediatrian and NHS dietician agreed a gluten free diet was the way forward and that is in both his medical notes and his school statement. He only has to get a bit of gluten contamination for his symptoms to flare up so it was obviously the right decision for him.

He does get stomach ache due to anxiety, but it's upper abdomen and caused by reflux. When his anxiety is really high he regurgitates small amounts of his meals and develops a bad sore throat.

I would speak to your GP about the possibility of a Coelia blood test, as if he's currently eating normal amounts of gluten containing foods, other than the fact it involves a needle, obviously, it should be an easy thing to rule out.

If it's negative, but you suspect intolerance, rather than Coeliacs, you could still try reducing the amount of gluten he eats by substituting some of his usual gluten containing meals with some free-from products eg bread, pasta, gf oats for porridge and see how he goes. Going gluten free is only a problem if you eat lots of shop bought manufactured rubbish, which to be honest is pretty dire anyway. If he eats plenty of fruit and vegetables changing to gf pasta and bread shouldn't be too much of an issue.

BarbarianMum Thu 03-Nov-16 15:34:21

Yes, me. It was gluten plus crohns disease (the jury is still out about whether I'm coeliac as I'm antibody negative but biopsy positive).

Speak to your GP but don't cut out gluten before tests are done. If they are negative then it may still be worth taking gluten out of his diet (but with an open mind because it might be nothing to do with his problems).

Has he ever had testing for food allergies? They are often linked with severe eczema (far more often than some doctors would have you believe in fact). I also had eczema linked to food allergies as a child but the coeliacs/crohns wasn't diagnosed til my 40s

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