One of the Reason for My Previously Whiney Post--Spencer's GI Tract
We got some closure and good news regarding one of the big "tired-makers" on my plate. I posted a "note" on facebook, but I thought I would post about it here too. Spencer has had chronic diarrhea for about nine months, and this week we've gotten some answers. I've spent a great deal of emotional energy, actual energy (we use cloth diapers), intellectual energy (researching), doctor's appointment energy, and money (special foods, special milk, LOTS of co-pays and tests, etc.) on his "issues," and hopefully now we'll all get some relief, at least mentally, from these things which have been dominating much of our life and time.
We got word last night from our GI doctor (whom I would highly recommend) that Spencer is neither lactose intolerant nor does he have any sort of bacterial overgrowth. His baseline hydrogen levels were high, but not high enough to be indicative of a true problem. The doctor said sometimes the baseline levels are just high in kids, and we don't know why. I'm really thankful to have both of these things ruled out.
These results allow us to totally rule out celiac disease, and his blood work has completely ruled out liver problems. The allergist and the GI doctor both think he has more going on than "toddler diarrhea." They agree that most likely Spencer has some protein intolerances that he will hopefully outgrow (that or they'll get a lot worse and turn into true allergies). We will do one more non-invasive test to rule out problems with his pancreas. Neither the doctor nor I think that this is an issue, but he said we should go ahead and do the test since it will be easy on Spencer and then no one can have any questions about it. Then we wait and hope his symptoms improve in the next few months.
If he continues to be the same with us continuing to add the probiotics and the extra fiber, we will consider doing a scope and a biopsy. The doctor made a point that he is not saying, "He's fine. Don't come back." He is saying, "Let's wait and see." Interestingly, my aunt told my mom that my cousin had diarrhea off and on most of his toddler hood and even into 4, 5, and 6. He finally just "outgrew it." He also had lots of trouble with eczema (Spencer is having mild to moderate eczema, which is why we tested for more food allergies). I found this out in the middle of all of the testing, blood work, etc.
To me, all of these symptoms would be consistent with a protein intolerance (which is sort of like an allergy that only irritates and inflames your intestines). So, I'm hoping that's what it is and that he'll out grow it in due time. If he continues to grow and have no other symptoms in addition to the diarrhea, we will probably get to skip the colonoscopy altogether. I feel more secure in this plan of action knowing that my cousin had very similar symptoms as a little kid and is now totally fine. I'm still glad we ruled out the other big things, because if you saw his diapers day in and day out, you'd think there was something wrong too! Trust me on this one.
One of my concerns (after my main concern that there was a health-issue that needed to be addressed) was that of potty training. How do you potty train a toddler with constant diarrhea? I plan on asking my aunt this question, but I don't recall any huge problems potty training Sam, so I'm holding out hope. Along these lines, though, we may have to retire the cloth diapers for a while, because the doctors recommended continuing to feed him all foods (except peanuts, of course), and the diarrhea causes painful rashes and yeast infections in the absence of using barrier creams--even when he is changed as close to immediately as possible. I can't use barrier creams with our cloth diapers. I have tried different "tricks" that are supposed to allow you to do that, and they have all failed and ended in extra misery for me, damage-control wise. I'm not declaring them obsolete for us or for Spencer, but I am declaring a little bit of a holiday for the holidays, and then I'm going to reassess, depending on how he is doing.
Good news for us. No more worrying he has something horribly wrong with him. Thanks for all the prayers and support.
p.s. If you're still in the mood to postulate, all of this makes me wonder if this was an issue early on with his refusing to nurse, etc. I don't know enough about it all to have any strong opinions. It just makes me wonder.