I have two girls aged 4 and 2 years and recently my two-year-old daughter Isabella had very bad tummy pain, bleeding gums, bad breath, a fissure on her bottom and blood in her stools. The first sign was the bleeding gums. They just kept getting worse and worse as we brushed and it hurt her to eat anything.

Then there was her tummy pain which was also getting worse. She was not gaining any weight (actually losing weight the year before but thought she was a fussy eater!) and is still very little for her age. I saw various doctors about her fissure and tummy pain and also mentioned her gums and no-one would help me. One doctor did say it was a fissure but didn't address the other issues.

She also had bad breath and was very whingy and clingy most of the time.

Anyway I decided to take her to our local University dentist as it is free and they are fantastic with kids. They ended up referring us to the Dentistry section at Westmead Childrens' Hospital. To cut a long story short they kept bringing people into the room until they reached the highest person in the place and he said he thought it was either Crohn's Disease or Leukaemia. After months of testing including a gum biopsy and an endoscopy and colonoscopy the Gastroenterologist confirmed it was Crohn's. They then got us back and said they want to trial her on a preservative free/additive free/antioxidant free diet. So off we went on the challenge to stop all these nasty foods.

They gave me a list of foods I could give her and a list to avoid. They said she could have milk, all fruit, vegetables, pasta etc as long as there are no additives. Anyway while researching one day I stumbled across something on your website. I knew of your website and it was helping me greatly but this day I was reading about Salicylates and Amines. I had NO IDEA what they were before that moment.

It suddenly occurred to me that I had been giving Isabella her favourite juice every morning, sometimes two cups. It was V8 Tropical juice which says it has no preservatives etc but I didn't realise about the salicylates. I stopped it that day and told her I had run out and had to go to the shop to buy more! (Saying that helps to avoid an argument!!) To my amazement her bad tummy pain stopped that day! I haven't given her the juice since and it's been about 3 months. Her gums got better, her fissure got better and her bad breath went away. She has had tummy pain now and then but I am fine-tuning her diet and think she could be totally sensitive to salicylates. I make my own washing detergent and wash her with Alpha Keri fragrance free but haven't gone as far as stopping my perfumed products like hairspray etc.

The purpose of this email is to send you a HUUUUUUGGGGGGEEE thank you for putting out the website and your books! I haven't come across anything on your site (maybe I've missed it) about the diet helping people with Crohn's Disease so maybe Isabella 's experience will help someone else.

If we had not have found your article about Salicylates then Isabella would have been put onto steroids at two years of age. The diet itself has changed our family greatly as well. My 4 year-old daughter is concentrating better, doesn't argue with me like she used to and isn't as emotional. Her learning ability has increased as well. I don't have restless leg syndrome anymore and I feel much better in myself.

The months before Isabella was diagnosed with Crohn's were unbearable and it was just horrible seeing my little girl go through all of that pain and not be able to fix it. Now, thanks to you, she is bouncing out of her skin and is a happy little two-year-old (with the occasional tummy pain).

It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about the past 6 months and what we've all been through. Everyone I run into I tell about it as there's probably someone else out there suffering but thinking they are eating healthy with all that fruit.

Update: Isabella has been getting through the capsule challenges very slowly. She didn't react to 'A' (I have no idea what they are) and 'B' she had a MAJOR reaction to so I'm looking forward to finding out what that was! She had all the symptoms of Crohn's back (except bleeding gums (although I think if we had of kept giving her whatever it was for a period of time that her gums would soon start to bleed again). Her behaviour was also just terrible. Words can't explain how defiant, grumpy, emotional etc she was. She also started to wet the bed! I felt really sorry for her that I gave her that on purpose. With all the ones she has reacted to (every one of them except 'A') it has taken a good week or so for all symptoms to disappear. I have noticed with everything she has like additives she develops a sore on the outside corner of her mouth. It gets really bad and then when she is back on the plain diet it heals. Very strange but I'll be able to tell when she's lying when she's older if she's had something she shouldn't! - Shelley, NSW

See update 8 years later