Woah! Is “Intestinal Parasites in Children” really the title of this blog post? Sure is. Guess I’m not such a crazy mama, now am I?!
We got Isaiah’s tests done immediately, and yesterday I took him in for the follow up appointment. The doctor’s first words were, “We have answers.”
In Ready Set Go, I stated what I thought was going on with Isaiah, based on sign, symptoms, and experience mixed with gut intuition,
But even if it’s not SIBO, it’s some general form of Leaky Gut. He is clearly not digesting and absorbing food the way he should be. He is, at this point, reacting to almost everything.
Turns out I was right that he is not digesting or absorbing food the way he should be. He was not tested for SIBO, so that is still sort of an unknown, but for now, what we do know is:
- moderate yeast overgrowth
- low sIgA
- low chymotrypsin
What does all that mumbo jumbo even mean?
Intestinal Parasites in Children
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First, it’s actually not that uncommon to see parasites in children. The only issue in Isaiah’s case is how long it’s been present. The doctor suspects that he’s had it since before he even came to us at 9 months due to the (very) low enzymes and stomach acid.
Second, there are many different types of intestinal parasites children can get. Here are some:
None of the above are the intestinal parasites we are working with. We are working with blastocystis, which is a parasite that can either live normally in the gastrointestinal tract and are harmless or even helpful or cause disease.
Blastocystis is a common microscopic organism that inhabits the intestine and is found throughout the world. It can remain in the intestines for months or even years (sometimes without any symptoms). If there are symptoms, they generally include:
- watery or loose stools
- abdominal pain
- anal itching
- weight loss
- excess gas
Take that and combine it with a moderate intestinal yeast overgrowth, and it’s no wonder he’s been miserable.
The low sIgA (s = stool, IgA = a test can help doctors diagnose problems with the immune system, intestines, and kidneys) is likely due to the intestinal tract becoming over-run with abnormal microbes.
And finally, chymotrypsin is a marker enzyme for pancreatic exocrine output. Low chymotrypsin in the presence of normal transit time may indicate exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or hypochlorhydria. Low chymotrypsin may also result from slowed transit time (constipation). (Ding, ding, ding….haven’t I just been talking all about hyochlorhydria?! In fact, his is so low that it could be achlorhydria.)
How bad is this combination?
The best news we got was that he has no makers for any disease, so we are in the clear there. Because of that and because I am such a gut-healing optimist, while the combination of all these things will be a long road to healing, he will heal.
Nothing is life-threatening; we just have to be consistent and do the things we need to do.
Top 4 Things We Will be Doing
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Please remember that Isaiah has gone through extensive testing to arrive at this place of action. I said it before we even started these tests that I didn’t do really anything with his diet, supplements, or the like because I didn’t want to skew testing results or treat something he didn’t actually have. You must do the same for your child’s sake.
- PARACLEANSE by Tonic Sea. “In addition to supporting a healthy gastrointestinal tract and immune system, research shows that these herbs also help support the intestinal lining, increase the tone of the intestines, improve the digestive power, and help clean the gastrointestinal tract.”
- Vital-Zymes. (It’s THIS brand, but the chewable ones.) These are chewable enzymes to help break down food. (Side note: I actually believe strongly in the use of enzymes for both children and adults alike for optimal digestion when its needed. I’m still in my research phase of the best enzymes out there. Currently, I’ll go with this one and I personally use Enzymedica – Digest Gold.)
- No gluten.
- No dairy.
The “diet” part will not be easy, not even a little bit. The doctor was adamant on it, though, and I believe that for what we are dealing with, at least for now, no gluten and dairy is appropriate.
We’ll stay on this protocol for a couple months, and see how he improves. If he doesn’t improve, Isaiah may need a medication to completely eradicate the parasite, but as he’s so young still, we’re trying to avoid that if possible.
It will be work to open up the PARACLEANSE capsules, pour the substance into food, and ensure Isaiah gets it all down a couple times a day plus keeping up with the enzymes, but for me, that will be the easy part compared to completely cutting gluten and dairy.
Gut Healing for Small Children
Gut healing for small children is no tiny task. Multiply it by three, and it can feel overwhelming if you’ve never walked the road yourself. Luckily (yes, that’s how I view it now) I have, so while it might not be easy, it’s actually very simple for me.
I had to request a note from the doctor so that I can start bringing Isaiah’s own snack to school, and of course I feel bad that daycare will be a challenge for everyone involved.
Ryan and I have decided that (starting Monday, go figure!) we are removing all gluten and dairy from our house. I’m taking this weekend to do a clean out, and re-stocking with anything and everything else for the kids.
Right now you’re thinking, “…..but why would you take gluten and dairy away from Samarah and Amiya, too?”
My doctor looked at me at the end of our conversation yesterday and smiled, “Wow. You really were given these children for a reason. They could not have found a better mama.”
You see, Amiya has almost all the same symptoms as Isaiah. And Samarah? She has a massive case of Eczema that we will now get to the bottom of as well. Her first appointment at the new doctor (same place where Isaiah and I go) is March 11.
For all, the doctor is confident that we need to get gluten and dairy out for awhile. This was not my idea or doing, though I’ve been saying it and feeling for quite some time now. I’m happy to oblige because I know how crucial healing the gut is for all systems; mind, skin, body.
I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you, and (mostly) to helping my children thrive by addressing root causes (not some MiraLax BS – ugh, don’t even get me started because I’m livid about that entire experience).
You will heal. I will help.