Symptoms of digestive system problems

Children with autism are known to be prone to digestive tract disorders. If a child has some of the following symptoms, it may be worthwhile to order some digestive function tests.

Overt signs and symptoms pertaining to the digestive tract

  • Abdominal pain, cramping, or discomfort
  • Reflux or excessive burping, vomiting or spitting up food
  • Abdominal bloating, especially after food, excess gas
  • Chronic constipation; fecal impaction; hard, dry stools
  • Toe-walking (usually indicative of constipation)
  • Chronic diarrhoea or loose stools; undigested food or mucus in stools
  • Foul-smelling stools; oily or foamy stools; yellow, orange or pale stools
  • Rectal itching, burning or apparent discomfort when passing stools
  • Perianal rash

Problematic reactions to foods

  • Gluten and/or Casein sensitivity
  • Reactions to phenols and/or salicylates in foods
  • Food allergies and intolerances (manifest as dark circles or puffiness under the eyes, redness of the cheeks or ears, post-nasal drips, headaches, skin rashes, asthma, environmental allergies, attention deficits, and behavioral problems)

Past medical history

  • Significant history of colic during infancy
  • Poor immune function with frequent infections of ear, throat or respiratory tract
  • Overactive immune response, as in allergies or autoimmune conditions
  • History of fungal infections like thrush, diaper rash or skin rashes
  • History of sensory defensiveness, including sensitivity to sounds, lights, tastes, textures and other external stimuli

Family History

  • Maternal history of fungal infections during pregnancy
  • Family history of celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other bowl inflammatory conditions; family history of allergies and/or autoimmune diseases
  • Prescription drugs and immunizations
  • Frequent use of antibiotics in infancy and childhood
  • History of adverse reactions to antibiotics, including diarrhoea, thrush, diaper rash or other abdominal problems
  • Onset of developmental delays shortly following immunization.