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Chronic diarrhea combined with lack of bowel motility can easily put frail, special needs lives in danger. Not even the mightiest among us would take it in stride to be brought low by their bowels. But many people born with special needs just have to live with loose stools… that don’t move anywhere.
Motility is a huge issue that has very little explanation. Mega bowel might explain some of it, but how does function itself cease? How does function itself start?
In March 2019, my daughter began to have chronic diarrhea. Every diaper. I tried different options for her to no effect.
What made it hard is her multiple allergies of
- wheat and corn glutens
- beef and dairy
- berries, and
- some other things (pets, a couple medications we’ve run into, etc.)
Her bowel history is
- Meckles Diverticulum with 6 inches of small intestine removed at 4do
- G-tube with Nissen fundoplication procedure placed at 6wo
- Umbilical hernia repair with urachal cyst removal at 18m
- Persistent, severe chronic reflux/GERD since 4mo
- Persistent, severe chronic constipation from 13mo when she weaned off breastmilk
- Intussusceptions followed by ileus before starting a gluten-free diet (being allergic intussusception)
She’s always been a very difficult child to maintain weight no matter how fatty or carb loaded her diet, and the above issues led to weight loss/stagnation at multiple points. She is 4yo, 28lbs, with Partial Trisomy 18 that is known for failure to thrive.
Once again facing the impossible, I got desperate.
I started researching vitamins and minerals to make her go, because I’ve always found the most success boosting her health and progress in the smallest of places. Any intervention I’ve done with her has come from a place of least restriction that cooperates with her cues.
I finally found a winner without extra fillers, and ingredients with low risk of gluten cross contamination.
What’s working just as well (better) than Miralax
Now, the reason I mention cross contamination is because gluten impacts the lymphatic system – it was Aubby’s lymph nodes that many medical staff would say in passing were “slightly” inflamed but never noted it in her records because it wasn’t “worth” mentioning.
She also had a lymph node on her right jawline that stayed inflamed no matter what for almost two years (and sometimes lymph nodes in her right armpit) before figuring out her gluten allergy was more pervasive than originally thought. Not just wheat, but corn too.
But if her lymphatic system was what was affected, and the lymphatic system impacts the immune system, then I concluded that the resulting inflammation from gluten is what kept nutrients from completing their tasks and slowed her bowel function.
So I removed corn gluten in addition to wheat gluten from her diet. And then she began to behave healthier, quickly. It was as if I finally saw her overwhelmed immune system “wake up” for the first time because her symptoms were not garden-variety illness but inflamed organs and anemia and abdominal cramping.
And it’s this mixture that’s allowed her to begin to gain health:
- 4 drops 2x/day OmniBlue Ocean Minerals taken in the morning (or Eidon magnesium drops if no trace minerals or extra sodium preferred)
- 1/2 caplet Ecological Formulas brand vitamin C supplement also taken in the morning, and
- An effective live probiotic such as Flourish
As with all things, I start with my method for testing if an item is allergic before I attempt to feed it to my daughter. If the item succeeds, then I begin with the lowest amount possible (1 drop, crumb, etc.) and test upwards with no less than 30 minutes between increased attempts.
When her body responds, favorably or not, I stop.
If the response was bad (such as rashing, worrisome breathing changes, and/or other discomforts), then I don’t give it anymore.
If the response was good (no immediate outward effect, skin color improvements, body comfort increases), then I put a pause on the amount and that becomes the amount I use until her body’s cues tells me she needs to increase (but to no more than the max dose if it ever reaches that point) or stop.
How the chronic diarrhea resolved
I finally found this solution in October to November 2019. By that time she’d endured diarrhea for nine months. However!
Removing gluten improved her immune system, which decreased the inflammation of her bowel. Magnesium on its own softens stool well. Vitamin C has acted as the “mover”. And within hours of taking live probiotic Flourish drops (we started at 2 drops), she had a bowel movement.
In a very short period of time, her stool had already formed up. It wasn’t dry, pebble-y, or cracked from lack of moisture. It wasn’t runny, pasty, or like clay. It was a proper amount, and not too much. It quickly became regular and a reasonable amount within just a couple days.
It was a fine play between the three supplements to get the desired effect. But it’s been longer than the length of time Flagyl was able to work when that was tried – over a week as opposed to a decline over two to three days after finishing the antibiotic — and this method is still working.