Last blog I discussed the GAPS diet and how successful it was for Finlay in healing so that new foods could be tolerated. I had been through a thorough detox and no longer breastfeeding so we were all eating a more normal, Paleo inspired diet. I had also started introducing A2 milk for Finlay as I was being told at his check-ups he should be having more dairy for his calcium intake. He wasn’t having any real obvious reactions but his stools were a bit loose (excuse the details :-/). Personally I had noticed my digestive system had not returned to ‘normal’ either. So I went to see the naturopath about this.
Whilst with the naturopath Finlay was playing around and slapping / tapping his head, she asked if he usually did that, to which I replied yes. At this point I feel the need to mention Finlay is a totally normal, happy, well behaved child 😉 We just thought it was something he did to amuse us / for attention. It turns out children banging their heads can be a symptom that they have a bad bacteria overgrowth!!
Some facts about the digestive system:
- We are all walking ecosystems made up of microbiomes (small communities on microbes), collections of good and bad bacteria all over our body.
- If you could remove all of the bacteria in one person’s digestive system, the whole lot would probably weigh about 1 kg.
- During the process of child birth a baby takes in its mothers good and bad bacteria. See this link for a general understanding: http://www.wired.com/2014/04/missing-microbes-antibiotic-resistance-birth/ For a US research paper on the topic: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110651/
- The small intestine is where most digestion and nutrient absorption takes place. A balance of good and bad bacteria is required to help this function.
- Due to alcohol, highly processed foods, antibiotics and other medications or toxins, good bacteria can be replaced with bad bacteria.
- Bad bacteria over growth can spread from the large intestine up to the small intestine causing symptoms of IBS as the bacteria responds differently to different foods for example starchy / non starchy foods. This is called SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth.
During the final 3 weeks of pregnancy I had to take steroids. The steroids, along with my mainly processed food diet, meant I didn’t have much in the way of good bacteria. Poor little Finlay had started out life already with an imbalance of bad bacteria.
Although the GAPS diet had been a great detox for me and healing on the stomach lining for both Finlay and I, it turned out we had been eating a lot of the foods that feed the bad bacteria. For example honey, mango, pumpkin and broccoli featured heavily on a daily basis for us. This resulted in us both having this SIBO. I’m not saying if you eat these foods you’ll have SIBO but if you had a bad bacteria overgrowth to start with, lots of these foods would not help.
There are different ways of dealing with bad bacteria overgrowth and I will get into this over future blogs. But for now the take away message is: If there is any aspect of your health, or your child’s that you feel isn’t quite right I encourage you to try and work it out. Our bodies are amazing at coping and adapting which makes it very easy for our minds to think everything is okay!