The dairy experiment has been less than conclusive, and we are all pretty much stumped at this point.
If you’re just catching up, my youngest daughter (she’s 7) has been having occasional stomach aches several times a month for . . . months, I guess. Maybe over a year. We ignored them for a long time but finally decided the situation warranted a trip to the doctor, who advised us to take her off of dairy for a week or two to see if it helped. I took her off both gluten AND dairy, figuring we might as well kill two birds with one stone. That was four weeks ago.
After about 12 days living 100% (as far as I know) dairy and gluten free and having no complaints, one Sunday morning we let her have a bowl of yogurt with her breakfast and then she shared my crème brûlée at lunchtime. That evening she started with a stomach ache, and she came home from school the next day still complaining of tummy troubles.
So naturally we thought, BINGO! It’s dairy!
Since that time, she has had no more gluten or dairy. She was fine until the next Sunday, when we ate out at another restaurant. They accommodated her needs with a plain grilled chicken and fries and mixed fruit, and she had a “Shirley Temple”. That afternoon she came home with a stomach ache again.
We were perplexed.
She was fine for another whole week. Then this past Monday, we ate at Chick-Fil-A for lunch. She had their grilled nuggets with fries and a lemonade. A while afterwards, she started complaining of a belly ache. She complained of a stomach ache all afternoon, and woke up Tuesday morning still complaining and said she had it all night.
I kept her home from school and called the doctor. She complained right up till about 2pm, when we walked into the doctor’s office (naturally). It’s like taking a car to the mechanic.
The doctor basically said, “didn’t work, huh?” After questioning and examining her, he ordered bloodwork and a stool sample (which I get to collect. The good times keep on coming!)
Then he said he was going to write a script for Prevacid. “Can’t hurt,” he said with a shrug.
THIS RIGHT HERE is where I’m starting to twitch. If you have any inkling of my medical history, you know how hard I worked to get myself off of Nexium. I’m sure it has its place, but it is way overprescribed and can cause more problems than it helps. I would need to be pretty convinced of its medical necessity to give it to my child. And even then, I would try just about anything else first. I’m not about to fill that prescription based on the information we have at the moment.
I’m fine with blood tests and stool samples, so we’ll start there. Since he is testing for Celiac, we started her back eating gluten last night (for the Celiac panel to be accurate, the person must be eating gluten, and she’s been off it for four weeks). She hasn’t had any tummy aches since eating two sandwiches on whole wheat bread and a bowl of pasta so I’m guessing gluten is not the culprit, but of course I’m anxious to see what the blood test results reveal.
I realize that I’ve been 100% focused on her diet as a cause, and perhaps it is. Isn’t it odd that the past few stomach aches occurred after eating at a restaurant? I can’t be sure that we haven’t eaten out at other times, but I don’t think we have. So is there something in commercial cooking that is bothering her? An oil, perhaps?
But then as I was looking back through my calendar with all my notes, I realized that her last 3 or 4 belly aches have also occurred the day before going back to school after the weekend. Which made me wonder if it could be stress related. I have had several people suggest that, but this child loves school and looks forward to going every day. It seems unlikely, but then again, she’s also a perfectionist. Could the tummy aches be due to some underlying anxiety related to that?
Of course we don’t know. We are baffled, quite frankly.
And so we wait . . .