PANDAS hardly brings about a warm or cuddly feeling when you’re talking about the syndrome, which causes an overnight onset of “what demon took over my normal, healthy child?” This rare condition demands serious attention from the parent to both diagnose and treat a child.
In simple terms, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) results when a strep bacteria causes inflammation on the brain which leads to neurological problems.
According to the PANDAS Network, it affects 1 of every 200 children. But doctors have only recognized and diagnosed PANDAS since the 1990s, so it is relatively new and often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
If your child suddenly (as in overnight) shows intense, debilitating anxiety or mood changes and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder behavior or tics, he may be suffering from PANDAS.
He may also regress in math or handwriting skills, have less desire to eat or suffer greater sensory sensitivity.
PANDAS typically surfaces in children between ages 3 and the puberty years. But it can take as long as 4 to 6 months after a strep infection, whether treated or not, for symptoms to show.
If your child takes a very sudden and drastic turn for the worse, showing these symptoms, ask your pediatrician to rule out PANDAS, because if let unaddressed or misaddressed (as behavior or ADHD issues), he may continue to get worse.
If your pediatrician seems unfamiliar with PANDAS, find another one who is. His or her first line of treatment will likely be antibiotics, for as long as up to 1 year. Though you want to treat the PANDAS, that would mean serious damage to your kid’s digestive system!
Your pediatrician may also refer your child to a psychiatrist for cognitive behavior therapy and/or prescription medicines such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
But you might consider using a holistic approach instead, like Camden’s mom did in this story. Once Camden was diagnosed, she immediately put him on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet to decrease inflammation in his body. This in turn, helped his body respond positively to her next steps.
After giving Camden a regimen including primarily diatomaceous earth (DE), oregano leaf tincture and an intestinal tract defense tincture over a period of time, he became his ol’ self again.
It’s amazing how the products of nature can heal, from food to dirt to herbs and much more.
This doesn’t mean all cases of PANDAS can be treated without prescription medicines.
But it does reinforce that your first line of treatment should involve the foods you eat, to eliminate inflammation so your body can heal.
And whether you treat PANDAS with antibiotics or not, you need to heal the gut, which means probiotics are a must.
To summarize, think of it like this. Getting rid of the inflammation gives your immune system a rest from fighting off your triggers (the inflammatory foods). Once not inflamed, your guts can better absorb nutrients and let your entire body heal as it’s supposed to.
This is why so many people have begun eating paleo, the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet or other anti-inflammatory diets – to eat preventatively!
If PANDAS is affecting your child, consider starting her on the GAPS diet right away.
If you’d like to consider eating a diet that’s anti-inflammatory for better health in general, read an overview of several options in this article from paleotreats.com. Then talk to your doctor or health practitioner to choose the one that’s best for you.
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.