FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis) is a type of non-IgE food allergy. With chronic FPIES accounting for the majority of cases and acute FPIES representing the most severe and life threatening cases, FPIES is thought to be one of the most medically under reported allergies.
While cows milk protein and soya protein are the most common FPIES triggers and classically linked to chronic FPIES, it’s possible to have an FPIES reaction to virtually any food.
Both chronic and acute FPIES reactions typical develop 2-6 hours after consuming the food protein trigger. The classic symptoms include repetitive, prolonged vomiting and diarrhoea.
In the instance of acute FPIES, the reaction is often confused for a severe stomach bug and can cause the child to become dehydrated, listless and lethargic. These cases are medical emergencies and require hospital treatment. Most cases occur after 6 months of age or once weaning has commenced.
Chronic FPIES cases can, but won’t exclusively, start in the first 6 months of life, prior to weaning. The condition can lead to ongoing malnutrition and dehydration as well as injury to the gastrointestinal tract, such as mucus and bleeding in the stools. Around half of children affected by chronic FPIES will fail to thrive.
Treatment for all kinds of FPIES involves complete avoidance of ingesting the trigger food. The symptoms will usually completely resolve in 3-6 weeks once the offending food proteins are removed from the diet.
Most children will outgrow FPIES by the age of 3. Under the supervision of a dietician, it is possible to start reintroducing the trigger food once the child’s gastrointestinal system is ready.
Click on the link below to learn 5 Myth About FPIES, a helpful video from the FPIES Foundation.
Further information about FPIES can be found on:
Further FPIES specific support for the parents of children with FPIES can be found on Facebook in the form of closed group forums. For parents who are new to an FPIES diagnosis, the support of other affected parents can be a lifeline and an important part of learning to live with the condition.