Goodness, where to start? Our Gluten story was one of the most challenging times we've ever had as a family. Probably like you, we had never given much thought to gluten. Well, it was spring of 2004 as our son Lucas was wrapping up 7th grade and he started experiencing bouts of nausea and acid reflux following meals. It started slowly at first and was mainly following lunch and dinner. We thought it might be that he was eating too much white bread and not getting enough fiber, soluble & insoluble. We loaded up on whole grains and stressed fiber at every meal, but the nausea and other bathroom ‘issues’ continued. Constipation had been an issue since Lucas was a young child, but now it was more often and more severe. These symptoms also presented with mucous in his stool, which turned out to be yeast. (sorry, no more gross stuff) Things got progressively worse over the next several weeks to the point where he was spending hours at a time in the bathroom dealing with nausea, reflux, cramping and painful constipation.
As all parents can attest, it’s troubling to watch your child in discomfort and not know how to fix things. We became increasingly worried as our happy and healthy teenager, 5’10” - tall and thin to start with, started losing weight. Lucas’ frequent nausea had diminished his previously healthy appetite. Before getting sick, he was 120 pounds (54 kg) and only six weeks later, his weight had dropped to 106 pounds (48 kg) and things were NOT getting better.
We consulted several doctors from the local hospital and got vague answers (aka mis-diagnoses) about conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease). And these ‘guesses’ came along with prescriptions that were kinda scary and ultimately unsuccessful. One of the prescriptions was a harsh laxative that contained propylene glycol as a main ingredient. I’m no doctor, but that stuff is in windshield washer fluid. (yes, I know that propylene glycol has many uses, and our son wasn’t consuming windshield washer fluid, but c’mon) So with little improvement and lots of meals followed by nausea, reflux and increasing concern, we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist.