Have you got a child who is very picky with their foods and complains of feeling “sicky” or a sore tummy? There is a very common bacteria that could be lurking in their stomach causing havoc and triggering fussy eating! Helicobactor Pylori is a nasty bacteria and can deplete kids of some key nutrients such as iron, B12, calcium and zinc, so it is very important to address if you want them to keep your kids sharp and robust.
Helicobactor Pylori (often known as H.Pylori) is one of the most common chronic bacterial pathogens in humans. It lowers stomach acid levels while damaging the mucosal protection within the stomach. It has therefore been attributed to causing stomach and duodenal ulcers. Approximately 50% of adults are infected and although most GPs do not recognise this infection in children, H.Pylori is being reported more and more frequently in the stool tests run here at NatureDoc Clinic.
Typically, children with an H.Pylori infection complain about pain and pressure in the stomach region, bloating, distention, poor appetite, meat-avoidance, and reflux/heartburn. Often hiccups, belching, bad breath not associated with gum disease, and bowel dysfunction such as diarrhoea and/or constipation are also present. In my experience kids prefer not to eat when they are in pain and if they do they will just eat plain beige food. As you can see this is one of the root causes of fussy eating.
Some kids (especially those on the autistic spectrum) may also suffer from associated behavioural problems such as irritability, agitation or self-abusive behaviour after eating. They also might experience night waking with irritability and self-stimulatory behaviour such as chest pounding. This is often due to the extreme pain being experienced and not being able to express this!
Fussy eaters and particularly those who refuse to eat meat and other high protein foods may well be suffering from H.Pylori and the associated pain and reflux (you need stomach acid to digest protein). The refusal to consume meat may well be due to the fact that they prefer the feeling of hunger over the pain that undigested meat causes in the stomach.
Dr Amy Yasko has been focusing on H.Pylori in children affected by autism and has not only seen great improvements in their gut function but also great gains in their language from treating H.Pylori. Many children on the autistic spectrum are low in iron, vitamin B12 and zinc. Since H.Pylori rapidly depletes the body of these essential brain nutrients, it is important to investigate an H.Pylori infection in those affected by autism.
Tests to Establish Presence of H.Pylori
- H.Pylori Antigen stool test through leading labs such as Genova or Doctors Data.
- H.Pylori Antigen breath test through The Doctors Laboratory or Genova Diagnostics.
- Biopsy through upper endoscopy arranged by your paediatric gastro-enterologist.
If your child has a positive result for H.Pylori, the standard treatment offered by the NHS is called triple therapy and involves a two-week course of two separate antibiotics plus a proton pump inhibitor. Natural support is individualised and often include probiotics, herbal anti-microbials such as mastic gum, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, hypothiocyanate, colloidal silver and Samento.
The good news is that once it has been treated successfully (and occasionally several attempts need to be made) then it is likely your child will almost overnight return to being a much better eater.