FPIES: What Is It And Could Your Child Have It?
Children with FPIES can be helped.
(NAPSI)—What is FPIES?
FPIES is Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. It is commonly pronounced “F-Pies” and is a severe inflammation and reaction in the stomach and intestines. FPIES reactions often show up in the first weeks or months of life or at an older age for an exclusively breast-fed child.
Cow’s milk and soy products are the most common FPIES triggers, but many foods can cause an FPIES reaction, such as cereal grains, vegetables and chicken. Often confused with food allergies, since the reaction occurs only in the stomach and intestines with other organs being unaffected, it is a protein intolerance. This makes diagnosis difficult and often frustrating.
A child with FPIES may experience what appears to be a horrible stomach bug but the “bug” only starts a couple of hours after the offending food is given. Some children experience mild symptoms, while others have such severe vomiting and diarrhea that they can become seriously dehydrated and go into shock, which can result in seizures, shallow breathing and clammy skin.
FPIES reactions almost always start around two hours after eating the intolerable food and result in vomiting, commonly followed by diarrhea, which can last up to several days. If your child is experiencing severe symptoms of FPIES or shock, immediately call 911 first, as well as your child’s physician.
It is common for FPIES to go undiagnosed for weeks to months, and the symptoms are often blamed on the stomach flu. FPIES is a newly recognized disease in the medical community, and unlike with common food allergies, standard tests are routinely negative in FPIES patients.
Keeping a food journal may be helpful in identifying food triggers if you think your child has FPIES, as diagnosis typically occurs based on food reaction history and physical examination.
“FPIES is often an underdiagnosed and misunderstood disorder. Due to limited research and a growing need for global awareness of this syndrome, many physicians struggle to accurately diagnose and treat FPIES patients. Physicians often confuse FPIES reactions with the flu or a common stomach virus,” said Fallon Schultz, founder, International Association for Food Protein Enterocolitis.
Treating FPIES varies depending on the child; for some, treatment is avoiding the foods that cause vomiting and stomach pain.
“However, if your baby is diagnosed with FPIES, we recommend eliminating those specific infant formulas and food proteins from his diet and switching to an amino acid elemental formula like Neocate. Switching to a special formula like Neocate will help ensure that your baby gets the nutrients and calories he or she needs to grow and thrive,” says Steven Yannicelli, Ph.D., R.D., vice president of medical and scientific affairs for Nutricia North America.
Many children outgrow FPIES by age 3 but this can vary based on how severe their symptoms are and which foods they react to. To determine if your child has outgrown FPIES, it is important to work with your doctor and evaluate it on a food-by-food basis.
For more information, visit www.neocate.com.