Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

3 year old can't keep food down

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 7 Replies
  • Posted By: fullersusie
  • May 28, 2009
  • 10:10 PM

This is a 3 year old boy who is still on baby formula from a bottle because he can not eat anything at all without vomiting it back up. It's my cousins grandson, who he has custody of. His wife is the one that has always taken the boy to the pediatrician and has been telling my cousin that the pediatrician says this is not a problem because he gets all he needs from the formula. Last month my cousin went with her for the first time and asked the dr. what they should do, the dr. said to cut him down from 6 bottles a day to 3. Of course this did not help because the boy can not physically eat without being sick, it has nothing to do with him just not being hungry. Now my cousin says that when he even opens the fridge and the boy smells food it makes him start to gag, this gagging just started happening. He finally made his wife get an appointment with a specialist, who scheduled an upper gi and she missed the first two appointments, on the 3rd one she made it, but the boy would not drink the barium so they told her they couldn’t do anything else. My cousin did call himself to schedule another appointment, at the end of June. But what I am wanting to know is, if this is a medical problem, like reflux or something, why can he keep the formula down, but nothing else and why is he gagging now at the smell of food? That gagging makes me thing it's in his head and it's more of an eating disorder. Please let me know what you think, I have no experience with this kink of thing at all and just need to get started in the right direction. I have told my cousin I am doing this and if anyone has any questions or needs more information, I can ask him, please let me know. Thank you so much.:confused:

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7 Replies:

  • Has he been tested for food allergies or malabsorption issues. If the body is having issues with the food it may have him react even to the smell in hopes he does not eat it. Many children with malabsorption issues does fine with breast feeding or formula and do not show issues until solid food is introduced. Good luck. I would say ask for a gi pediatric speciliast as they can do testing for the child under anastesia-beth
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Okay, the key symptom here is gagging upon the smell or sight of certain foods and the cause results from a sensory aversion. This is very common in toddlers and careful attention must be given to methods used in permitting the child to overcome the phenomenon. It is actually due to the body's natural ability to prevent choking, which was probably a likely significant event in the history of this young toddler. In many cases, toddlers will continue to "cheek" food and at some point find great difficulty in trying to swallow it or expulse it from the mouth. The most common response is to choke, which can result in vomiting to clear the airway. The best protocol to use in dealing with a sensory aversion is to puree food to near liquid consistency and slowly move toward more solids, paying very close attention to how much a child places in the mouth and chews before swallowing. Also, stay well clear of absolutely any foods that the child does not like, despite the fact that they are healthy or nutritious. Many parents feel that their child must eat what is thought to be most healthy, rather than try and introduce small portions of such foods into the diet that the child most prefers. This, too, can result in aversion. It is unlikely that this pattern is the result of a food allergy, which by the way is actually quite rare although many parents make subjective conclusions where this is concerned. It is also unlikely that the symptoms are due to something like pyloric stenosis, which generally produces vomiting regardless of what is ingested. Again, sensory aversion is the likely culprit here and the pediatrician can help provide guidance in reduction of symptoms and transition to more normal responses to food intake. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
  • Wow 3 yrs old and still on formula...somthing is definetaly not right here. Have you tried fruit flavored yogurt? My pediatrician told me to use it on my kids when they have an upset stomach. It helps put the good bacteria back in there system.One more thing, I have been researching my back and neck problems and there are problems in those areas that can cause vomiting and gagging. (my aunt has had 8 back surgeries and had the vomitting gag reflex thing for years but her surgery in 2000 seemed to stop it now)I found this link that might help also, at least you can see if there are any similarities!http://www.inspire.com/groups/preemie/discussion/3-year-old-former-26-weeker-still-not-eating-getting-worse/Good Luck and I'll keep you all in my prayers
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Ok, it looks like Sensory Processing Disorder could possibly be the problem. (And I’m just trying to get a list of possibilities and start crossing things off.) Can anyone tell me if someone with this disorder will display all the symptoms on the lists I found, or do different people display different symptoms? This is one list I found today. 1. Intense staring or may avoid eye contact 2. Standing extremely close to others or objects 3. Covers ears with certain sounds or has extreme fear when unexpected noises are occurring. 4. Will leave or withdraw to avoid noises 5. Needs to smell or touch food before eating it 6. Difficulty when being touched by others (even lightly brushed by another) and my display anxiety when touched 7. Needs to smell materials before using them 8. Complains about the way clothing feels especially with tags or seams. 9. Underreacts or overreacts to pain 10.Limited on their food choices and may only tolerate foods with particular color or texture. 11.Cannot have different foods on plate to touch eachother or may have to eat all of one item before. moving to the next. 12. Oversensative or undersensative to environmental stimulation such as change in light, sound, smell, or even location of objects. 13.May engage in self-stimulatory behaviors like rocking, chewing, hand movements, playing with objects.
    fullersusie 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I just was throwing in my two cents. EE is not as rare as people think it is highly unerdiagosed. But still very unlikely. I was just throwing it out there as another idea to food aversion. i have two children with sensory processing disorder my son was severe. MY daughter has it and also has EE EG EC AND food allergies. So that is just my two cents We are still tryign to figure out what my son has that is affecting his gi an growth. Good luck. If it is sensory issues. They recomend brushing a couple times a day. Joint decommpression and some other items depending if your child is sensory seeking or sensory avoiding. I have one of both yea me NOT-beth
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • The fact that he needs to smell his food makes me wonder if he has autism. His somewhat 'antisocial behavior' would suggest that as well. He has to have control of his environment and when something is out of place or something is different, he can't handle it. He needs a constant environment with no surprises.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • He needs a swallowing eval. Kids who chronically vomit stress about swallowing and eating- this can cause them to unconsciously vomit. My son was that way about pooping. He was so chronically constipated that he would refuse to go. Also there is a failure to thrive diagnoses that can be similar. At a swallowing study they will watch how the swallowing occurs and what are the problems. Also an upper and lower GI watches as the baby swallows liquid- I wonder about really severe acid reflux. My son has it horribly and we have a lot of food sensitivities. THey say that kids can become so stressed by the idea of eating that they vomit on site. The therapist can help retrain the baby to eat. We only had sucess with A.R. formula- to date my son cannot eat yougart, tomato, eggs, any juice, beef or many fruits. He does eat mango, barley cereal, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, baked potato and some beans. He can eat some tofu. He is on a large dose of prevacid quick dissolve tabs, it helps controlt he vomiting a lot, but you have to make sure they are not constipated.
    lucipearl70 11 Replies Flag this Response
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