Kids, Heartburn, Constipation and Abdominal Pain
In my practice, I commonly encounter kids that have intermittent abdominal pain usually with some degree of heartburn and constipation. By the time I see them, they have already been to the pediatrician and gastroenterologist (intestinal specialist) without much improvement in their symptoms.
These kids are all having the same kind of problem, poor forward motility of their intestinal tract.
The Intestinal Tract is A One-Way Conveyor Belt
The intestinal tract is essentially a one-way conveyor belt pushing your intestinal contents forwards. Food should pass through the mouth into the esophagus, from the esophagus into the stomach, then through the small and large intestines and finally passed out the rectum.
If the intestinal conveyor belt slows down at all, we get symptoms such as food sticking in our throat or esophagus, bloating and acid build-up in the stomach, abdominal cramps (such as in Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or constipation.
The poor functioning of the intestinal tract is because the autonomic nervous system is not working correctly.
The Autonomic Nervous System and Intestinal Motility
Briefly, the autonomic nervous system is a portion of your nervous system that controls all the organ functions of your body. It helps the bladder to empty, helps maintain proper blood pressure to the brain, regulates the sweating of our skin, coordinates erection and ejaculation as well as coordinates the muscles and valves that push the contents of our gastrointestinal tract forward.
Excessive stomach acid accumulates leading to symptoms of heartburn or nausea, poor coordination of peristalsis (muscle coordination of the intestines that pushes the contents forward) results in cramping and slow motility in the colon (also referred to as large intestine) leads to constipation.
Autonomic Dysfunction is a Harbinger of Future Illness
There is accumulating evidence that the excessive amount of carbohydrates in our diet is impairs autonomic nervous system function and results in problems such as heartburn abdominal cramps, constipation, lightheadedness, headaches and bladder dysfunction leading to urinary frequency, urgency and hesitation.
As I’ve written before, excessive carbohydrate intake is responsible for the development of insulin resistance and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The damage to the autonomic nervous system from excessive carbohydrates often precedes the development of insulin resistance and in my opinion, the symptoms of autonomic dysfunction should be viewed as harbingers of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
The sequence of events surrounding carbohydrate toxicity unfolds as follows:
- Consume excessive amounts of carbohydrates for many months to years.
- Carbohydrates cause your autonomic nervous system to operate erratically.
- Insulin resistance develops with continued excessive carbohydrate consumption.
- Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, PCOS or gout develop.
- Culminating in the onset of cancer, heart attacks or strokes with prolonged inflammation from underlying insulin resistance
Lower Your Child’s Carbohydrate Intake to Reverse Their Symptoms
Fortunately, a reduction in carbohydrates can result in complete reversal of many of these problems. Simply cutting out all the soda and juices in a child’s diet can result in nearly complete reversal of these symptoms within just a few weeks.
If they don’t drink any soda or juice, start cutting back on the bread, pasta or potatoes in their diet.
The bottom line is you have to cut back on the carbohydrates or their symptoms won’t go away.
Childhood Heartburn, A Warning Sign for Your Child’s Future Health
It goes without saying that no one wants their child to be ill but I believe the most important aspect of this problem is that a child with these problems is a child that is progressing towards more serious illnesses in early adulthood.
High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, polycystic ovarian disease, gout, obesity, sleep apnea and all triggered by excessive carbohydrates consumption. If your child has any of these symptoms, they are on the fast track to develop these other illnesses at an early age as well.
Your child’s lifelong eating habits and taste preferences are formed when they are young. It is imperative you change their eating habits by controlling the foods that come into the house, their choices when eating out and the foods they eat at school. You must take charge because no one else is looking out for them.
It’s not too late to change their future. Start today by pledging not to bring anymore soda, juices, chips, cookies, fruit roll-ups, donuts or ice cream into the house. These should be foods that are eaten only infrequently. Save them for the rare celebration.
Your kids don’t NEED these foods. Sure they will gripe and complain. But with time, they will adapt and in the process you may literally save their life.