Do you know of any kids who are prone to stomach aches and no one can figure out the cause? Once doctors have ruled out the serious things like colitis, ulcers, infections, etc., these children often receive a label as having functional abdominal pain (FAP). What FAP means is that the child has stomach aches with no discernible cause, that are severe enough to limit his activities, and happen frequently enough to be a problem. In short, doctors who give a child this diagnosis believe the pain is psychological in origin. And here is the sad part.
The current medical treatment for FAP is antidepressant drugs. Now you probably know how much I dislike these drugs. For short-term use (two to three months) in an adult who is undergoing a very stressful time in their life, I think they can have merit. But for the treatment of chronic disorders, they are useless at best and dangerous at worst.
Using antidepressants to treat children borders on the criminal. The use of these drugs in children increases the risk of violent behavior and suicide. Plus, there are much better ways. And now a brand new study shows how you can help kids with FAP both naturally and safely.
Just for the record FAP typically affects kids between the ages of 4-12. It's relatively common, affecting around 15% of children. It often has other symptoms than just a stomach ache, such as anxiety, depression, headaches, vomiting, and pale skin. And it causes these kids to miss school and other activities. Diet may be the cause of FAP. For example, two commonly overlooked causes are GMO (genetically modified foods) and gluten. But the simple fact is that sometimes it is impossible to find out the physical causes.
Recently, researchers at the University of California in San Diego looked at six children who were diagnosed with FAP. The average age was 14 years. The trial went on for two months. Each child took the amino acid s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Initially, they took 200 mg per day. But over the two month period, the doses increased as needed. At the end of the two months, the pain scores and episodes were significantly less. The final dose range for the children was between 950 to 1,400 mg per day. They didn't see any side effects.
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My take on this study is that at the very least, kids with a diagnosis of FAP should not be started on antidepressant drugs until they have had a chance to see what SAMe can do for them. SAMe is a safe, naturally occurring amino acid. Europeans have used it by prescription for many years as a remedy for depression. Here in the U.S., you can buy it over the counter. SAMe works by providing methyl groups to nerve cells. Nerve cells need methyl groups in order to respond to the nerve chemicals called neurotransmitters. Since the bowels are so rich in neurotransmitters and are so affected by nerves, it stands to reason that SAMe would be effective. But I need to say something else here.
If your child has been diagnosed with chronic stomach aches and has been told that the doctors cannot find the cause, make sure that you take him to an experienced alternative doctor. Besides the GMO and gluten issues I mentioned above, there are several other common causes of stomach aches in children that the conventional doctors may not look for. One of them is the yeast syndrome. In my book, no child should be told that there is no cause for his abdominal pain until he has been effectively treated for yeast, and has had all gluten and GMO foods eliminated from his diet for four weeks.
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