A Middle Schooler can get IBS too!
I asked the mother of one of my clients if she would like to write about her son’s journey with IBS. Below is a very condensed version of his story. Some people are “fixed” quickly, while others, the pieces of the puzzle take a lot longer to fall into place. This client’s mother was his biggest advocate and she deserves so much praise for getting her son where he is today.
Seeing my son in his first year of high school, enjoying the life of a typical teenager, I am grateful to Valerie Polley at Blue Tree Nutrition for helping him along his journey to better health.
For more than two years, digestive issues, headaches, dizziness and insomnia were making it impossible for my son to function normally. The problems began with a stomach virus, which ran a normal course with other family members, but persisted with my son. Because there were no physical signs the diagnosis became “school anxiety”. We felt that something else might be wrong, but experts were telling us otherwise.
Allergy testing came back negative. Counseling sessions didn’t seem to be helping. We homeschooled to avoid the pressure on all of us to get him to school no matter how he felt. We changed pediatricians when we realized that the first doctor wasn’t listening to our concerns.
After a while symptoms seemed to get better, so he returned to traditional school for junior high. Occasional symptoms occurred, but we told our son he had to tough it out and go to school as the medical professionals had told us to do. This worked until 8th grade when the GI issues and other symptoms began to occur daily. The new doctor had me keep a detailed record of symptoms and eating. He prescribed some medication which didn’t help.
The physician made a referral to a GI specialist. When we met the GI doctor in December 2016, she took time to get to know my son and to look at the records we had kept. She saw a pattern in the symptoms and told us that she thought that my son had IBS, a diagnosis that was confirmed with more testing.
It seemed that with a proper diagnosis and the right medication my son’s symptoms would go away, but that didn’t prove to be the case. We learned quickly that trial and error would be necessary, first to find a medication without troublesome side effects, and then to find the right diet. The third medication tried seemed to be the best, but symptoms were still occurring. The specialist had only provided us with clues about diet- “natural foods” and a note in a handout about something called, the Low FODMAP diet. The office scheduled an appointment for us with hospital dietician- in a month. I found the Low Fodmap App and began using it to find “safe” foods. We found that following the diet caused a decrease in symptoms, but my son was still having a lot of pain and not sleeping well at night.
I looked on the internet for dieticians specializing in the Low FODMAP diet and that is when I learned about Blue Tree Nutrition. Valerie was able to take more time with us and had a much better knowledge of how foods affect IBS than the doctors we had been working with. She gave me information on troublesome ingredients and ingredients hidden in food. She made many suggestions of appropriate products and recipes. After our meeting, she followed up with us several times to see how things were going and make suggestions for further changes. She is knowledgeable about the gastroenterologists in the area and helped us find a doctor that is more appropriate for my son.
Now taking the morning IBGard supplement suggested by the new doctor, medication at night, and avoiding the FODMAPs that cause reactions, my son is a healthy and happy 14 year old.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - CDN, RDN
My name is Valerie Polley. I am a Indianapolis-based registered dietitian and owner of Blue Tree Nutrition. I consult with clients both local and far away.
I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Purdue University and I have been practicing for 20 years.
I thoroughly enjoy helping clients through their gut health journey. I see a range of GI issues including, but not limited to celiac disease, IBS and SIBO. I also specialize in the FODMAP elimination diet.
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