Tips to Soothe Irritated Intestines After the Stomach Bug
Question: My 2-year-old daughter had a stomach bug over the weekend. Monday she was feeling a lot better and yesterday she was back to herself. However, last night she vomited before going to bed. Could this be from overeating on an empty stomach after being sick?
Answer: Oftentimes, the stomach is easily upset after a stomach bug. The intestines need to heal after being sick but it can be a slow process after an infection. Your intestines are especially sensitive to eating too much, too soon, even after the actual infection has passed. It sometimes takes three to four weeks after a stomach bug before the intestines are fully healed.
“Low and Slow”
The phrase we use in our family and our medical practice is “low and slow” – meaning “go low” in consuming spicy and greasy foods, and especially foods with artificial colors or artificial sweeteners. Also, healing intestines are more prone to being sensitive to highly allergenic foods, especially wheat. You’ve probably heard of “leaky gut” in adults, which simply means the intestinal lining, having been injured, allows larger food molecules to pass through and the immune system fights them as foreign molecules that don’t belong there. This is why for a week or two after your child has a stomach bug you should feed her only real foods, not packaged, artificial foods.
Next, “go slow” with getting back to her usual volume of meals. We call this the Rule of Twos: Eat half as much and chew twice as long. Grazing rather than gorging is much easier on healing intestines. You may find your child likes smoothies even more while her intestines are healing. Check out recipes on AskDrSears.com
Written by: Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”