F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Posts: 33
Reply with quote  #1 
OK, so she's supposedly weight restored, and ever since then, she's been complaining about severe stomach pain. We do what we can with tums, etc., but she still complains. Have talked to the doctor and are trying lactase pills for dairy intolerance and lessening the amount of fiber she has, but it's starting to interfere with eating, and we're having to supplement more with Ensures, which we don't like doing. It's been bad this past month, and here are the things that could be contributing:

- reached a goal to go back to dance. So she started back, and after being off for 4 months, she's rusty and says she sucks. We also have to sell her solo dress because she outgrew it (not only filled out but grew 3 inches), and I sense some ambivalence which she will never admit about being back and it not being as great as she built it up in her mind to be.

- during this time she went off zoloft and started lexapro. This is also when the stomach pain started. It was a 2 week weaning period off the zoloft and two weeks of starting lexapro. We took her off it all a little over a week ago, but I don't know if there would still be some withdrawal going on there.

- she had a breakthrough period during this time, also when we switched the SSRIs, which I think had something to do with it (we put her on birth control pills when her periods came back because she couldn't deal with them and I'd rather have her on these than spiral downward again. I know a lot of people have a bad opinion about this, but I'm more concerned with getting her recovered from anorexia.)

- We have a family history of IBS, which her symptoms sound like (constipation, some diarrhea, lower pain, gas, belching, heartburn/reflux). I don't understand why they would happen now instead of right when we started re-feeding. 

If anyone has any ideas or experiences to share, I'd be happy to hear them. 

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Posts: 3,995
Reply with quote  #2 
We had lots of gastric complaints through recovery. Severe constipation - even at weight restored, lots of IBS symptoms. 

I think it is important to know there is lots of research that suggests our children are much more susceptible to things such as IBS. They seem to be much more aware of bodily functions, bowel contractions etc.. which are all normal. As a result of this they are more likely to become distressed about them. I think the easiest way to conceive of this is as an anxious gut. 

So what could be causing that anxiety? A change in medication? Is she really weight restored or is she really in extinction burst so more anxious and needing to gain a bit more? Is the pill affecting her mood and making her more anxious? 

Probiotics can help some kids as can things like lactase etc.. 

My own D used probiotics for around 6 months when she had a flare of this at one stage, another time the issue was more constipation which needed hefty doses of Movicol (Mirilax in US). She is now off both. Like your D we had less issues at her lowest weight than during weight recovery. 

D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.

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Posts: 1,604
Reply with quote  #3 
I would talk to her psychiatrist or GP about the Lexapro.  Both Zoloft and Lexapro are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Most people don't realize that serotonin plays a huge part in gastric motility.  We have more serotonin receptors in the gut than any other place in the body.  I have no doubt that all those things are contributing but I'd tackle the med change and see if that is playing any part in the problems you are seeing.  Hope things improve.

Posts: 149
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi deetz

I'm sorry to hear you're in this frustrating place right now, having made such good progress. It does sound as if there's a lot to disentangle, what with your family history of gastric issues, change of medication for your d etc.

For what it's worth, I just thought I'd send this thought your way...

We've also had lots of complaints of very sore stomach on and off over the last year.  We've always felt it was due to ED, stress (as Foodsupport_US calls it, anxious gut).  The last time it became a real problem, about six weeks ago, we thought we'd have to start looking for a physical cause.  But our T suggested one last attempt to identify which situations could be triggering anxiety or stress, assuming this caused the discomfort.  She asked my d to keep a detailed journal of exactly when her stomach became painful.  Interestingly, she has not complained of a sore tummy since.  I wonder if putting the ball in her court and asking her to analyse what causes the onset has somehow helped her resolve it (or if it's ED, call it out)?

I hope you find some answers soon.  Good luck.


Posts: 33
Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you for all your replies. I think they all are valid. I do think it's a combination of anxiety, stress, and going off the meds. Interesting to have her keep a journal of exactly when the pains come on. It may make her see if there's a pattern.
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