Chronic Stomach Issues in Teens
Stomach problems in teens are hard both on the body and on the psyche. They are often misdiagnosed and perplexing. Is it leaky gut? Processed foods that destroy the GI tract? Lyme disease? When your teen is unable to eat, has severe bloating, digestive distress and extreme sensitivity to foods, the world becomes a hostile place. Going out to eat is a chore. And you worry. You worry all the time if they will be in pain when you are not around.
Sometimes there is Celiac, sometimes there isn’t, other gastroenterology tests may or may not be clear but bloating, nausea and severe indigestion continue to be present. With or without meds. Constipation or diarrhea too. Then anxiety and depression start rearing their ugly heads.
You have worked with a gastroenterologist. You have examined everything — from parasites and Celiac to gynecological issues, ulcer, gastritis, SIBO, IBD, Crohn’s, etc — now you are at the end of your wits.
CMV IgM and IgG Antibody Test
When dealing with unresolved, mysterious gut issues in teens, you must also test for Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Lyme Disease. Look for Ehlrichia, Bartonella, Babesia and the rest of the co-infections too.
Help your teen eliminate processed foods and stress. An Elimination Diet must be followed pristinely.
Chronic digestive issues in teens often follow bacterial or viral infections, possibly potentiated by:
- Lyme Disease,
- nutritional deficiencies (top culprit is low iron),
- or toxin overload.
It is important that you work with a Lyme Disease specialist — regardless of CMV test results — and even if your teen’s previous tests have been negative. Many teens have three or four negative Western Blot tests before their particular strains show up.
Supplements and Diet
Adding prebiotics, probiotics, mucilage, demulcents and enzymes is a good complementary step. Buying from the supplier directly ensures authenticity.
Take active measures to encourage plant-based nutrition and microbiome hygiene. Not sure where to begin? Here is a good place to start.
Work with a plant-based specialist to make sure all nutritional requirements have been met.
Take your time and practice patience. Teens are difficult to convince when it comes to instilling good nutrition habits, but if your child’s problems are unresolved after you have seen a gastroenterologist, an internist and an allergist / histamine specialist, applying the Elimination Diet is a must. Combine with this gut cleanse. Have your teen follow Michael Pollan’s three simple rules of nutrition:
- Eat real food.
- Not too much.
- Mostly plants.
Reach out of you have any questions.
The statements on these pages are not evaluated by the FDA and are for informational purposes only. Nothing on this page intends to treat, diagnose or prevent disease. If you suspect that you have a disease or a condition of any type, please see your primary care physician without delay. Consult your physician before taking supplements or changing your diet.
About the Author
Evelina Sodt, PhD is a nationally registered provider of health education services. She is a practitioner, a consultant, and the author of over a dozen books, including Healing Pain, Anxiety, and Inflammation Without Drugs: The Science Behind Natural Medicine. Dr. Ev practices virtually via remote education. She lives in Northern NJ with her husband, daughter, and a cat named Kingston.