Brielle has always had issues with food and it only got worse as her GI (gastrointestinal) problems escalated. We switched GI specialists this year for her Cook Children’s (where she had been treated and not improved for several years) to Children’s Health in Dallas. Dr. Sanghavi is her GI doctor and she has changed our lives. This amazing doctor is also affiliated with UT Southwestern, one of the best medical research and treatment facilities in the country.
It is hard to explain the level of frustration, disappointment, and angst with having a child who turned 5 and was still not able to have any control over her bowel movement. None. Things had gone from bad to worse over the years and she ended up with stretched out colon and intestines. The problem was finally diagnosed by Dr. Sanghavi as slow GI motility, or as she termed it very, very, very slow GI motility.
Because food was barely moving through Brielle’s GI tract it caused her GI discomfort, pain, and her appetite dwidleded to nothing. Her GI issues got so bad she developed a pediatric eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant Resistent Food Intake Disorder). I shared about this previously: When Picky Eating is More than Picky Eating
I am so thankful for the Children’s Health Eating Disorder program in Plano. After a month long partial hospitalization Brielle was eating again and gaining some weight. She has done extremely well since being discharged. I am extremely thankful to the professionals at this facility. We are praising God for all that has happened this summer and the progress has made.
Over this summer we were able to get a medicine regiment for Brielle that worked. She stayed in the hospital for a stint in May for her GI issues. It got her on the right track. Dr. Sanghavi figured out that it was extremely slow motility. Miralax does NOT work for Brielle. She has three other medications that are working for her. She now has bowel movements every day and she has control over them. This was huge for her and for us too. After figuring out her GI stuff we then had her admitted to the eating disorder program. The combination of these treatments have changed everything. We were worried we were not going to be able to send her to Kindergarten. Thank God that is not the case! She is in a wonderful place now. Not only does she have complete control over her bowel movements, but she eats now too!! It is remarkable how far she has come since this past May. We are thankful to God she gets to start Kindergarten on Monday.
Now the question I get from many people is how did she get these stomach problems? My educated guess at this point is that she was born this way and it has something to do with me taking a boat load of antibiotics while I was pregnant.
At a visit with our GI specialist I was asked about my pregnancy and if I took antibiotics while pregnant. It then led to a brief conversation and I learned that new research is pointing toward a link between children who have gut issues and antibiotics during pregnancy. After I researched this myself (thank you Google Scholar) I found there is recent research on this topic and there is definitely a correlation between antibiotic use in pregnancy and gut health in children.
It makes sense that antibiotic use would affect an unborn child during pregnancy. Antibiotics wipe out the bad bacteria and the good stuff too. Science is now proving to us that we need this bacteria in order for our GI systems to function properly. We also know that gut health affects a lot of other things in our body too- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160519130105.htm
I didn’t just take one or two courses of antibiotics during my pregnancy. I was on IV antibiotics because my gallbladder was completely failing. I shared about this previously on the blog- Our Miracle Baby Turned 4!
During my pregnancy had gall stones. They were blocking the duct to my liver as well which was causing all sorts of problems and infections in my body. I was very sick, so I didn’t have a choice other than to take antibiotics and try to make it to second trimester when the gall bladder could safely be removed. They would not perform the surgery during first trimester as it was too risky for the baby. I was hospitalized several times for numerous days and was hooked up to IV antibiotics. My case is obviously very unusual and the amount of antibiotics I took was not the norm for a pregnant individual. However, sometimes you have to do things to keep yourself and the baby alive at the same time. Do I think the antibiotics affected my daughter’s development in the womb. Yes. Yes, I believe the antibiotics wiped out the good and bad bacteria in my gut and hers. For a developing baby the killing off of bacteria (especially the good stuff that aids in the digestion of food) can’t be a good thing. However, sometimes antibiotics are the only reasonable option. I guess we should be thankful that Brielle only has GI motility issues. No known cognitive affects from the antibiotics, for her at this point.
Long term the options for GI motility involve medication and hope that she outgrows this thing. Some kids do. Some kids don’t. I do know of some modern treatments such as fecal transplant procedures that deem some looking into for the future. Right now, we are feeling very blessed to have her symptoms under control and her body is able to function normally with the help from these meds.
Some food for thought…do you know someone who has a child with severe constipation? Constipation that has been debilitating like Brielle has experienced? Is is slow GI motility? Did they take antibiotics while pregnant too? If I was a medical doctor I would be researching this topic, as it seeems more and more families have children with gut health issues. Praying for more answers as more and more families seem to be afflicted with GI problems.