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Up to the age of seven, our son was perfectly normal. Thereafter, he began to complain of occasional stomach aches. As a normal father, I wrote it off without too much concern since every kid has a bout with stomach pains. Thereafter, the stomach pains began to be daily and severe. We took him in to see our family doctor. She was unable to explain the causes of his stomach aches. The initial diagnosis was IBS. After three months, his stool was no longer normal. It may see hard to believe but he had both diarrhea and constipation daily.

The difficult part of this was the agonizing pain that he was suffering. This little boy would spend hours in the bathroom because of the constipation. In school, he could not control his bladder and he would have to run out of class because of the diarrhea. Eventually, we had to take him out of school and have him home schooled because of the IBS. After one year, our son began to experience depression. It was a sense of helplessness because the doctors could not diagnose nor help with his stomach problems. The tears streaming down his face and him telling me that he didn't want to live this way was one of the most trying times in my life.

One doctor believed that it was a psychological problem i.e. depression causing the episodes of constipation and diarrhea. The doctor recommended anti-depressants. We refused this course of treatment because our son did not have any psychological problem prior to experiencing IBS.

We went to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This doctor is very experience with treating many children with IBS. There was a battery of test that were given to him: blood testing, celiac testing, colonoscopy, endoscopy, stool testing, and gluten testing to name of few. All these test came back negative. Every time something came back negative it gave us relief and yet disappointment since we did not know what was causing his problem. The gastroenterologist stated concluded that our son had IBS. In short, IBS means "we don't know what's causing his digestive disorder."

I remember seeing my son entering into the bathroom. Approximately an hour later, I saw that the door was still closed. I knocked on the door and asked him if he was okay. He opened the door, he stood there crying because his stomach hurt and that he was unable to use the restroom due to the constipation. I told him, "We will find an answer to what is going on and we will get your stomach back to normal." It was at this point that I did my independent research on IBS. I'm happy to report that it's been over one year since my son no longer has "IBS".

Please understand that I read reports of others concerning IBS and it was nothing but a sales pitch to buy some stupid product. Our experience has nothing to do with selling you anything. What was successful for our son may or may not be successful in your situation. We hope that the following information may bring an end to your ordeal.

After conducting a series of test with negative results, doctors often throw up their hands and say that one has IBS. In our case, we researched the area and found out that IBS is a misnomer. In many cases, IBS is really small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO).

Doctors even specialist do not test for SIBO. Why? I have no clue. Our research revealed that our son may have SIBO and that a hydrogen breath test would reveal if he had SIBO. We spoke to our pediatric gastroenterologist and he was bit skeptical, but agreed to have the test done.

A month longer, we had the hydrogen breath test done. The results came back showing that he had significant bacterial overgrowth in his small intestines. After all this time, we finally found out what was causing his stomach pains and the diarrhea/constipation. The question is, how do we get rid of it?

We started with a regiment of anti-biotics. This is also important. The choice anti-biotic is rifaximin, however it's very expensive. A full treatment may cost around $1,200. Some insurance companies don't cover it. We were initially given flagel. After two days, our son was like a new child. He was running, playing, and he stopped complaining of the sharp stomach pains. After one week, his stool began to be somewhat normal!

The bacteria was still in his small intestines. We switched to neomycin and later we were approved for rifaximin. After six months, we noticed that he was doing very well. We read that gluten can cause bacteria, but he tested negative for gluten intolerance. The gluten test that came back negative was wrong. Once we took him off gluten (wheat base products) and some dairy products, his stomach pains stopped completely. His stool is completely normal. He has been off anti-biotics for over eight months. His life is now normal.

We attribute our success to prayer, our research, and our doctor permitting the hydrogen breath test. Our sincere prayer is that you and your love ones will overcome what this misnomer called IBS.
 

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Why? I have no clue.
SIBO in IBS is a fairly new concept. There are a few papers on it, but not the amount or number of repetitions you usually see needed for something to become standard medical practice, or something taught to all medical students (if they had to learn the entire medical literature they would never graduate). While some of the early papers trying to see if there was any, um there there, with SIBO and IBS, more measured papers have the incidence a fair amount lower. That being said, if you have SIBO, treating that should help. For may people it is still just managing a chronic illness as the SIBO comes back again and again.

Gluten usually doesn't really have that much ability to specifically increase the growth of bacteria, it is much like any other protein. The carbs in wheat that no human on the planet digests (one of the FODMAPS) IS something that the colon bacteria feast on. Lactose is another one of the FODMAPS.

Low fodmap diets do seem to help a lot of IBSers, but again this is fairly new evidence scientifically so you may not find your doctor is recommending these diets, yet.
 

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Thank you for your post. I'm glad your son is better. Eight months is a good sign and it seems to be permanent. Would you mind posting again, say in a year's time, to update? We get a lot of "cured" posts from people we never hear from again. I also had a gluten test which was negative but the main problem could be starches, rather than a gluten allergy. If your son ever does get a relapse, be aware that foods high in starch as well as high FODMAPs feed bacteria. The worst offenders are dry, baked products like crackers, biscuits, French fries, and these don't just have to be wheat. Non-gluten breads (potato, corn & tapioca flour) are very high in starch. The specific carbohydrate diet limits all potato and all grains because of their high starch content.

The only allowable flours are made from nuts, generally almond flour, but these can cause problems for some people due to their high fibre.

The SIBO breath tests aren't infallible at this stage and there can be false positives and negatives. Just warning some others reading this post. It might be better to just assume you have SIBO and go on a low starch, low FODMAP diet and see if your symptoms improve. Something your son needs to be aware of is that some of us might also have a genetic predisposition to constipation, including some here who are diarrhea predominant. There's different theories what it could be - either a faulty gene or a neural signaling disorder. This makes sense because otherwise everyone who eats a western diet would have SIBO. Complete evacuation is important and sometimes that might take a while so he needs to learn patience. Hopefully he's fully cured and won't have a relapse, but if any symptoms return he needs to know this.

Unfortunately people here have had the course of antibiotics but still have SIBO / IBS. SIBO is known to return after a few weeks if you just rely on antibiotics. It would be interesting to know what diet he's on specifically. Do you limit potatoes for instance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your post. I'm glad your son is better. Eight months is a good sign and it seems to be permanent. Would you mind posting again, say in a year's time, to update? We get a lot of "cured" posts from people we never hear from again. I also had a gluten test which was negative but the main problem could be starches, rather than a gluten allergy. If your son ever does get a relapse, be aware that foods high in starch as well as high FODMAPs feed bacteria. The worst offenders are dry, baked products like crackers, biscuits, French fries, and these don't just have to be wheat. Non-gluten breads (potato, corn & tapioca flour) are very high in starch. The specific carbohydrate diet limits all potato and all grains because of their high starch content.

The only allowable flours are made from nuts, generally almond flour, but these can cause problems for some people due to their high fibre.

The SIBO breath tests aren't infallible at this stage and there can be false positives and negatives. Just warning some others reading this post. It might be better to just assume you have SIBO and go on a low starch, low FODMAP diet and see if your symptoms improve. Something your son needs to be aware of is that some of us might also have a genetic predisposition to constipation, including some here who are diarrhea predominant. There's different theories what it could be - either a faulty gene or a neural signaling disorder. This makes sense because otherwise everyone who eats a western diet would have SIBO. Complete evacuation is important and sometimes that might take a while so he needs to learn patience. Hopefully he's fully cured and won't have a relapse, but if any symptoms return he needs to know this.

Unfortunately people here have had the course of antibiotics but still have SIBO / IBS. SIBO is known to return after a few weeks if you just rely on antibiotics. It would be interesting to know what diet he's on specifically. Do you limit potatoes for instance?No
No promises, but we will try to post in a year. I can only tell you that we went through three years of agony and now he's not suffering from SIBO or IBS. There is one read that I highly recommend which we gave excerpts to our GI to follow. The book is "A New IBS Solution" by Dr. Pimental. We live in Southern CA and we attempted to see Dr. Pimental but he only sees adult patience. Ultimately, we went on our own and followed his recommendations. Education, persistence and lots of prayer was key for us. Our son is on a gluten free diet (no wheat, no cheese, and no dairy). He's doing great! Hope you have the same experience.
 

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Great post.

I really thought I had SIBO for a few months, but tested negative. I have removed grains, dairy, sugar, and all starchy carbs, including rice and potatoes from my diet, now just living on meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fats. Grains feed all the bad bugs in the gut, that's why people think they have 'gluten sensitivity', because these are the foods that feed the bad stuff the most, and when they feed, we get sick, simple.

I was found to be carrying a parasite called Blastocystis Hominis about a year ago, it loves all the foods I've cut out. I took a course of three different antibiotics for it, back in June of last year, at a cost of £500, but I didn't re-test afterwards, and I think it could still be there. I've done a stool test over the last few days and will be sending the samples off on Monday, hopefully I will get some answers.

Glad your son is fixed, must be horrible for a kid to have to go through all this. I have had problems for six years now, and it's really ruining my life, so much so that I would be lying if I said that suicide hadn't entered my head more than once. A problem with the gut really does affect the WHOLE BODY, including the brain, in a big way.
 
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