Many kids come into my practice with a laundry list of symptoms and many parents are surprised to find out they have yeast growing in their digestive system. You can imagine many parents are angry, they ask me “why was this not ever considered by our family doctor or pediatrician?” Let me first defend them, they don’t know that this exists, nor are they taught to look for or treat this epidemic in children. Many have long since graduated from medical school and unless they keep current with the functional medicine aspects of disease they wouldn’t know about it. Eventually parents find their way to someone that addresses the functional aspects of children and POOF we find the culprit.
The special needs children are the hardest hit by Yeast, Why?
These kids have weakened immune systems and abnormal detoxification systems that are fragile. Many have had tens of rounds of antibiotics to treat their recurring illness. There are many reasons a child may have yeast, the most common way a child gets yeast is by antibiotic use. The antibiotics go in to the system and eliminate all the good and bad bacteria, leaving an imbalance in the gut. The yeast then multiplies and populate the digestive tract and growth can take years to become symptomatic, in many cases the children I see have had it for most of their life when we trace back their symptoms and medication use.
How common is this?
This is an epidemic I see in practice with over 75% of kids tested show positive for pathogenic yeast. This is tested via take home urine and stool.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms range upon age, exposure and other underlying medical issues. Some symptoms may include bloating, gas, constipation, foul smelling stool, inappropriate laughing, eczema, bed-wetting, intermittent aggression/poor behavior that is unexplained. Most parents seek answers when the aggression comes on, complaints at school or inability to control them at home. Just know that the symptoms don’t have to be in plenty, they can have just one.
How can parents determine if their child has a problem with yeast?
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in part 1 of this blog then its best to consult with someone immediately to see if testing is necessary. Your child can have only one of those symptoms and have yeast. The fact is that yeast doesn’t go away on its own or with natural remedies alone (in most cases), it just grows and gets worse. Parents need to seek out care with an integrative, biomedical or naturopathic practitioner. They will do stool and urine testing to determine if yeast is present, this will also show many other things needed for treatment. Please understand not every stool test is the same so your pediatrician may not order from the correct lab, these are specialty tests and most integrative doctors know who to use for these tests. Using an experienced doctor will ensure you don’t waste time or money.
If my child has yeast how is it treated?
If yeast is present I have found it best to attack it from a variety of ways and treatment lasts for approximately 4 months. The test results will outline proper natural and prescribed medications for the elimination of the specific yeast that tested positive. The variety in treatment helps to eliminate all the subtypes of yeast that are present. Also, be aware that not all prescriptions are the same, in my experience I can tell you very few pediatricians understand this finding, SO its important we educate them at every corner. Don’t be afraid to tell them how great your kid is doing when you see the results, it brings power to the treatment and education to the forefront.
What can parents do to maintain a healthy gut flora and yeast levels once they get their child’s yeast under control?
There are many things that we as doctors need to clear up when we find yeast. Like I said before, it doesn’t travel alone. The best way to keep it at bay long term is to make sure you get the digestive system healed, healthy and keep in line with any dietary recommendations that were made by your doctor. The use of probiotics can be helpful when used properly and with quality products. Lastly, find a way to keep your child healthy throughout the year to avoid the use of antibiotics that may spawn a new grown of yeast in the future. If we as doctors keep focused on quality care and healing children from the inside out then much of this is not a concern.
What should parents expect after treatment?
I see and talk with parents all the time whether in my office or when I am speaking, often they say “we are going to wait to see what happens for a while”, this is playing with fire. Yeast doesn’t go away it grows and gets much worse, takes over the digestive system and causes immense inflammation that impairs them neurologically. When treated, many parents see a regression in symptoms within the first week of treatments and see additional strides made in therapy and at school.
In closing I want to push you to get help on your journey, you don’t have to be alone.
My suggestion is to pace yourself, get testing done immediately to see what is going on and make a plan with your doctor and therapy staff. We all want your child to get better.