When I received a call from our family GP in June 2017 telling me that my six-year-old son had Dientamoeba Fragilis, I was totally unsure how treatment would progress.
She told me it was great that tests had uncovered what was going on in his tummy BUT there has been conflict between doctors on whether it actually causes pain & how to best treat this parasite. Initially recommendation was to introduce a daily probiotic and yoghurt to potentially crowd out the “bad bugs” in his tummy.
First of all, how did he get this? Unfortunately it is one of those lovely bugs that is transmitted via “faecal-oral“. I found out soon after he was diagnosed that 2 girls he plays with at school have had the same parasite this year.
He complained of a sore tummy daily for the last 6 to 8 weeks. I know that most boys fart a lot (TMI?) but he never did until the parasite arrived, much to his amusement & my bemusement! His behaviour also became very erratic with outbursts of anger interspersed with being over emotional and crying more easily than normal. His sleep at night had also regressed, with him waking at 5am daily & always waking during the night. He also had night terrors – “waking” crying & inconsolable. A few weeks ago he was shouting at me “shut up”, throwing pillows & books at me. He then eventually lay down & simply closed his eyes. He has no recollection the next morning.
I am not averse to taking antibiotics however if I am able to cure the bug by diet & natural supplements (including kefir & probiotics), then I’d be crazy not to.
So what have we tried?
Kombucha – he tried one sip & said it was too fizzy (he’s never had a soft drink).
Coconut kefir – hated it.
Probiotics – Inner Health for Kids is flavourless & he has been having it daily.
Wild oregano oil – I put 2 drops on the soles of his feet for a few weeks.
Bone broth – I bought the frozen cubes & snuck them into low-fructose smoothies packed with berries & natural yoghurt. I would deem this a success.
Low-starch, grain-free, sugar-free, low fructose (& nut-free for school) diet. Well this was the most challenging….
Fruit – he is currently eating berries only. Previously he would eat a couple of bananas every day.
Dairy – we only have organic milk, yoghurt & butter in the house.
Yoghurt – is it just me or is a yoghurt with claims of probiotics just cancelled out by 15% sugar? We have organic natural or Greek only with no added sugar.
Meat – even though I haven’t eaten meat for 20 years, my children do consume high-quality, organic, grass-fed meat. Organic beef mince, organic lamb, organic chicken are on the Menu.
Seafood – they love crumbed fish so I crumb fish fillets in an organic egg & almond meal to keep it grain-free
Grains – this is by far the toughest area for my son. So far I have removed all gluten. This has meant more rice & corn based products which is also not ideal. . We are using a rice & corn based pasta (Aldi). For breakfast he either has rice puffs (100% brown rice), corn flakes (I’ve found a brand less than 6% sugar), gluten-free Weetbix (made with sorghum, about 2% sugar)
Bread – the biggest failure by far! He has not liked any of the gluten-free breads I’ve tried including Deeks, Naturis, & even the Coles & Aldi home brands. I’ve had success with 2 types of gluten-free wraps only.
We followed this gluten-free & low-fructose lifestyle (diet is the wrong word) for about 6 weeks. He slept a bit better, was less emotional & angry, & never complained about a sore tummy.
Then this thing called life got in the way. There were parties, play dates, rugby matches and evenings out. The anger and tears are back. Last night he woke in such a bad abdominal pain around 1:30 AM (crying, couldn’t even get dressed he was in such pain) that we took him to hospital. Of course nothing showed up. He has complained of a sore tummy again today.
This is just our personal experience. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. Go with your gut in every sense of the word – I was chatting to a family today whose son has had some additional behavioural needs & they too have experienced the profound positive outcomes of a bio-individual diet, whether it is Paleo, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan or more tailored to crowd out certain foods that your body reacts to.