Food intolerance

When our daughter was two years old, her eczema was so severe, we contemplated trying to find out whether she could have a blood test, to determine if she was intolerant to any types of food.

At the time our doctor advised us, she was too young for these tests to show any meaningful results. So we carried on oblivious to the possibility of giving her foods which might be exasperating her eczema

Now our daughter is nearly 6 years old and we have found her skin recently to have got a lot more dryer and itchier. No matter how much we cream her, she started to have some very bad sleepless nights from all the itching and scratching.

We decided to contact our doctor, to see if there was anything we could do to help relieve our daughter's scratching. Whilst expecting an answer related to using a different cream, our doctor instead suggested having blood tests to try to determine what foods our daughter could be intolerant to.

The doctor advised us that our daughter was at the right age where the blood tests could provide some answers and he arranged a blood test, which would test against wheat and dairy.

Food intolerances

After a few weeks, the results came back and we went to see our doctor. He told us the results showed our daughter's body was intolerant to wheat but surprisingly to us, dairy was not too bad. The doctor then decided to organise another blood test, this time checking for intolerances against eggs, nut and soya.

When these results came back a few weeks later, they pointed to her being definitely allergic to egg, nuts and soya. Whilst the intolerance to eggs and nuts was sort of expected, the intolerance to soya was rather more surprising and painful to swallow.

Painful because we had substituted most of her dairy intake to soya such as milkshakes and yoghurts except at breakfast where she still had full fat milk with her cereal. So now we felt we had been responsible for her increased itchiness which could have been brought on by her intake of soya.

Clinical advice

The prognosis was simple, some of the foods our daughter was eating, was causing her eczema to react. The easy answer would have been to cut out all these food types from our daughter's diet. However, we decided to get our doctor's advice first and he suggested being referred to a Paediatric Dietician, a health professional who specialise in assessing what children eating needs.

So we decided before we'd curb any food types at this stage, we would see the Paediatric Dietician first. At the moment we are waiting for an appointment with a Paediatric Dietician who will be able to assist us with substituting certain items.

The Paediatric Dietician would be best placed to advise us on how to structure new eating habits for my daughter which would retain a healthy balance.

It is very, very important you seek medical advice before you cut anything out of your child's diet. Certain items can be harmful to a growing child.

Whilst the temptation to strip our daughter's diet of all the things she was tolerant to was high, we focussed on the bigger picture, of ensuring we didn't end up making changes which could have serious repercussions later. This is why we are going to work with the paediatric dietician to come up with a way forward.

We also went through a period where we tried wheat free products but this wasn't a prolonged exercise because we were sceptical of whether this would work and removing such a major food group from a diet could be very problematic, especially when it came to digestion and retaining regularity.