My oldest daughter, Avery* began to show signs of gut dysbiosis shortly after birth.
About a week after she was born, Avery developed oral thrush (overgrowth of Candida in the mouth, a sign of gut dysbiosis) that was treated with Nystatin. This appeared to resolve the problem.
However, at about 7 weeks old colic set in; she would scream, writhe, and couldn’t be consoled for hours and hours each day.
This colic lasted until she was 4 months old. This is when I began to notice Avery’s constipation.
Her stools were hard and difficult to pass–a sign that something was not right in her gastrointestinal system. Many times while trying to have a bowel movement should would cry or scream in pain. This chronic constipation lasted well into her third year.
Through the thrush, colic, and constipation, our pediatricians assured us Avery was “fine,” “normal,” and that I myself was “too anxious” about my daughter’s health.
Once Avery stopped nursing at a year old, she developed eczema on her face, hands, arms and legs. Still, the pediatricians said, “don’t worry,” and “it’s just a little dry skin.” So I took her doctors’ advice and believed that all these symptoms were normal.
Difficult and Unusual Behaviors
When Avery was around 2 years old, she developed difficult and unusual behaviors that went far beyond the “terrible twos.”
- She developed red cheeks and eczema after eating, and would occasionally break out in hives.
- She had prolonged (an hour or longer) tantrums everyday, usually between 2 and 6 times per day. Many days it seemed like she spent the whole day crying, screaming and tantruming.
- She developed strange sensory aversions where she refused to touch anything wet, sandy, dirty, sticky, grassy, and would scream and tantrum when faced with these tactile challenges.
- She developed pressure-seeking behavior where she needed to constantly wear a hat, headband, or other item that would put pressure on her head. She also wanted her shoes and dress strings to be tied so that she could barely breathe and would tantrum until they were tight enough. She wanted to be pushed into the table at mealtimes so tightly that she could barely breathe and would scream and tantrum if it wasn’t tight enough. It was the same story with her seatbelts in the car, “It’s not tight enough!!”
- While these sensory problems were unfolding, I also noticed that she had significant social anxiety.
- She did not like to be touched, hugged or looked at and would wipe kisses off her face if anyone dared to plant one on her cheek.
- She averted her eyes from peaople, and would look at you with sideways glances, rather than straight on. In her two-year-old preschool class, she would spend time hiding in her coat cubbie, wearing her ski hat on her head (even in warm weather) and watch the other kids with apprehension. Her teacher, an experienced special needs coordinator mentioned to me that there was something “off” about my daughter and I ought to have her evaluated. She felt that she did not have autism because she was highly verbal and cognitively “with it,” but she did have traits and characteristics that were decidedly autistic.
- Avery also developed obsessive-compulsive behavior, would line her toys up and tantrum if one of her toys was moved, even a quarter-of-an-inch.
I brought all of these symptoms up with her pediatrician who laughed and told me that my daughter did not have autism, that she was fine, and to stop worrying.
Something Was Wrong
I could not stop worrying. Something was wrong. I just knew it. So we went to see a psychologist, a gastroenterologist, an allergist, an occupational therapist, and everyone told me that my daughter was fine.
She did not have any IgE allergies (per standard allergy tests) and standard blood and stool tests came up negative. I knew that there was something wrong with my daughter, but all of her conventional doctors assured us that she was fine.
It was at this point that I learned about a different type of food allergy test–an IgG test–that detects food sensitivities and intolerances. I thought maybe some of my daughter’s symptoms could be related to food intolerances.
I went to see a nurse practitioner who practices functional medicine and discovered that my daughter had significant food intolerances–to over 20 different foods and that these intolerances were likely causing her eczema, bedwetting/potty-training problems, tantrums, and other behavioral issues.
Sure enough, when the foods were removed, many of the symptoms went away.
I then began to learn about the connection between food allergies, gut dysbiosis and neurological disorders (everything from obsessive compulsive disorder to depression and autism).
It was at this time that I took my daughter to see a Defeat Autism Now! doctor who treats children with autism, ADHD, allergies and other gut and immune-related disorders.
Comprehensive stool and blood tests revealed that my daughter had significant food intolerances, gut dysbiosis, and inflammatory bowel disease–gastrointestinal disorders that Avery’s gastroenterologist completely missed.
Finally, with diagnostic tests pointing towards the underlying biological dysfunctions in Avery’s body, I began a quest to heal the biological issues, hoping that doing so would resolve her neurological issues as well.
Recovery for Avery
And thus began the recovery journey. Over the course of one year, I removed all allergenic foods from Avery’s diet.
We addressed the gut dysbiosis by using a variety of diets (including modified versions of the paleolithic diet, the Body Ecology Diet, the GAPS Diet) and supplements (such as probiotics, fish oil, natural antimicrobials and antioxidants).
I also took Avery to see a BioSET practitioner and gave her occasional NAET treatments. Within 6 months of beginning the diets, supplements, and energy work (BioSET, NAET), Avery was vastly improved.
No more sensory behavior, tantrums, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and her bowel movements were normalized for the first time in her life.
Within one month of beginning the energy work, she could eat foods that used to give her hives, rashes, and eczema.
She also began to see a doctor, Dr. Toby Watkinson, who uses a bioelectrical diagnostic tool in conjunction with bioelectrical homeopathic remedies to treat people with chronic illnesses.
Within three weeks of working with Dr. Watkinson, Avery was a completely different child. For the first time in her life she began to exhibit normal four-year-old behaviors–she would sing, dance, skip, play independently, laugh and no longer exhibited any of her old patterns. She would give hugs and kisses and love people without apprehension.
The people who knew her best, her father, grandmothers, and aunts, could not believe the change in her. By the time she was 4 1/2 years old, most of her symptoms were gone or going away.
Now at seven years old, she appears to be fully recovered–all her symptoms are gone and she no longer has any food allergies or sensitivities. There is no doubt that these very involved biomedical interventions completely changed her health and behavior. She is an absolute joy.