Category: Pediatrics

Pediatric Constipation and Encopresis

Constipation is a fairly common issue in children that often resolves itself with a few lifestyle changes.  But left untreated, it can become a chronic problem and even lead to encopresis (involuntary passing of stool, often due to impaction).  Naturopathic health care really shines in helping these children have healthy bowel movements. 

The difference between constipation and encopresis:

When a child is constipated, he or she has fewer bowel movements than normal (<3 times per week) or delay or difficulty in passing stool. Bowel movements can then become hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Your child may avoid going to the bathroom because it hurts. Stool becomes backed up (impacted) in the rectum and the large intestine (colon). When the stool can’t move forward, the rectum and intestine can become enlarged. Over time, liquid stool can start to leak around the hard, dry, impacted stool. This soils your child’s clothing and is called encoporesis

Ruling Out Underlying Health Conditions 

  • Primary care visit (we can do this at BNHC) to rule out other pathologies – this may include referrals for testing like an abdominal x-ray and/or barium enema, and bloodwork.
  • Stool test to rule out bacterial imbalances, parasites, poor digestive function.  Here’s an example of one we run at BNHC:

Actions to consider:

  • Food intolerance testing can be very helpful in finding a potential cause of the constipation.  It may take several weeks of avoiding the offending food/s before change takes place.  In general, avoid a high fat, low fiber, high sugar, junk-food diet
  • Read Are Foods Causing Your Symptoms: Understanding Testing Options
  • Fluid intake is essential.  Track the amount your child has and have water available around the house. Avoid soft drinks and fruit juices. If they don’t like plain water, consider herbal teas or snacks of juicier fruits like watermelon or even sucking on ice cubes.
  • Fiber – think legumes, vegetables, and whole grains.  If your child has a dry constitution then think moist fibrous foods vs dry fiber (apple sauce, whole fruit, oatmeal vs bread).
  • Exercise helps the body create motion in the bowels to push stool forward and out.
  • Abdominal massage – gently and slowly rub castor (or another oil) in a clockwise fashion.  Heat can sometimes be useful
  • Try relaxation training or mindfulness techniques.  Constipation and subsequent encopresis may be from stress in the family or with friends or at school.  Mindfulness helps decrease stress and gives the child a tool for life.
  • Encourage a sense of humor among the family to help ease any tension that may have built up around pooping.
  • It’s really important to do child-led potty training to decrease the risk of constipation/encopresis in the future.
  • Biofeedback can be used to help get on a stooling schedule and to help re-learn the body’s signals.
  • Chiropractic care can help rule out or correct structural contributors.

There are a number of supplements that might be helpful:

  • Kid-friendly digestive aids instead of laxatives
  • Probiotics can help to diversify the normal flora and compete with overgrowth bacteria which will aid the mucous layer lining the gut and promote better digestion.
  • Homeopathy can be useful, especially if there is a strong emotional component. 
  • Demulcents and gentle GI herbs can restore rhythm and function.  
  • Calcium and especially magnesium can help.  Some find help by adding fish oil.  

There are so many options to consider as you see in the list above.  Consider scheduling an appointment at Boise Natural Health Clinic and we can guide you through the process and help your child have bowel movements successfully again.

No More Bedwetting

Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting) is a common and embarrassing problem.  There can be various factors that may play a role such as bladder size, a hormone imbalance, chronic constipation, a or a structural problem. Read More about Bed-wetting from  But sometimes all it takes is a lab test.  I have been helping kids and young adults identify food sensitivities that cause bedwetting since I learned about the link over 20 years ago at a nutritional medical conference. 

The Food – Bedwetting Connection Evidence is Not New

A study done of 100 children in 1965 and published in the reputable Annals of Allergy showed the evidence but was long forgotten in conventional medicine.  The study was summarized by Dr. James Breneman in 1978: “Of the 100 patients subjected to the food exclusion program, 87 were completely controlled as long as they avoided their particular food allergens … The average number of days to control these 87 was 4.87 … the ingestion of a food to which the patient was sensitive would temporarily reproduce enuresis.” 2  Of the 100 children, 13 did not improve due to non-compliance or other explanations such as bladder infection, inflammation, and a physical obstacle restricting flow of the urine out of the bladder.

Food Sensitivities are Not Food Allergies

Despite the words often being used interchangeably, there is a difference.  

Food allergy symptoms are sudden (minutes to hours) and often dramatic such as with peanuts.  An Epi Pen is often needed, and the person must never eat the food.  Testing for food allergies will not rule out food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are different.  The time from ingestion to symptoms developing can be hours or even days later.  This is why people do not associate their symptoms with ingesting the food.  Sensitivities to foods can cause a wide variety of other chronic symptoms besides bedwetting: headaches, gastrointestinal issues, musculoskeletal pain, mental and emotional changes, skin issues and more. 

Are Foods Causing Your Symptoms? 

Please refer to our article: Are Foods Causing Your Symptoms?  Understanding Testing Options.  


  2. Breneman JC.  Nocturnal Enuresis, A Treatment. Annals of Allergy. 1965;185-191. (summarized in Dr. Beneman’s book, Basics of Food Allergy, 1978, Chapter 8, pages 54-66., as cited on in an article by Jonathan V Wright, MD, at

Kids and Sleep

By Nicole Maxwell, NMD

Sleep problems affect 20-30% of children and in many cases it can be addressed with naturopathic care.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Sleep problems – difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or waking up too early in the morning.
  • Tension/worry about going to bed and being able to fall asleep.
  • Being sleepy during the day.
  • School or disciplinary problems.
  • Irritability/mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Decreased attention span.
  • Aggression.
  • Memory problems.
  • Making errors or having accidents.

One issue is if we expect the child to be sleeping more than they need to or if they are in their bed longer than needed.  Reduce the sleep window to match the sleep needs to alleviate this possible bedtime struggle.  

How much sleep does each age group ideally need?

  • Preschoolers (3-5yo): 10-13 hours, no less than 8 and no more than 14.
  • School-aged Children (6-13yo): 9-11 hours, no less than 7 and no more than 12.
  • Teenagers (14-17yo): 8-10, no less than 7, no more than 11.

Some possible causes of insomnia include:

Stress: kids can suffer from stress just like adults.  Any school issues?  Bullying?  How’s family life?  Sibling relationships?  Any changes like recently moving?  Letting your child share their feelings can work wonders.  Naturopathically, we can treat this with adaptive herbs that are gentle for their system.  Consider ashwagandha: it has calming and focusing effects for students and helps calm the mind for restful sleep.

Use of caffeine or other stimulants: besides the obvious ones, many clear sodas and energy drinks have caffeine.

Medication side effects: drugs that treat ADHD, antidepressants, and others may cause insomnia.  We can help manage those side effects through nutrient guidance.

Other medical disorders: Growing pains, thyroid issues, heartburn and muscle cramps may cause insomnia.  We offer physical exams and many lab options to help rule these issues out or in and treat accordingly.  Magnesium is great for muscle cramps and growing pains. Magnesium is also an easy item you can try safely at home.  Food sensitivities may be linked to nightmares and sleep issues.  We offer food sensitivity testing at our office.  Blood sugar dysregulation often causes middle of the night insomnia.  Try a bedtime snack like a couple slices of apple with a nut butter on top or a hard boiled egg.

Environmental factors: Perhaps the room is too hot or too cold, not dark enough, or it’s too noisy.  These can be addressed with the appropriate mattress, bedding and curtains.  Another environmental factor includes restricting electronic usage in the bedroom and turning off Wifi at night.

I am happy to help you and your child/children uncover the source of the sleep difficulty and guide you to a safe and effective plan.  I work with herbs, nutrients, homeopathy, and diet. Contact Boise Natural Health Clinic at (208) 338-0405.

Planning a Family? 1 in 50 born with Autism. Reduce the Risk Factors

Emily Yuen, ABT

Currently, I am inspired by Dr. Melillo’s work, his book “Autism the Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders- and what Parents Can Do Now” as well as another of his books, “Disconnected Kids”.  I have been seeing great results with my daughter using Dr. Melillo’s techniques at the Brain Balance Center in Eagle, Idaho! This work has been a great complement to the NAET food allergy work she has done.

Dr. Melillo explains the latest research showing that discrepancies between the maturity of right and left hemispheres in the brain can lead to many types of learning, processing, neurological and autoimmune disorders. This means that not only is autism treatable it is preventable.  With 1 in 50 children being born in the Autistic spectrum and 1 in 6 born with sensory issues, we must all educate ourselves on identifying risk factors for women in their child-bearing years to lower the risk before pregnancy.

Dr. Melillo’s research also proves how a poor diet can exacerbate behaviors and illness and how important it is to balance the inflammatory process in the body and heal leaky gut.  He emphasizes the importance of good nutrition and food sensitivities.  He also provides a list of botanicals and nutrients to increase the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory response.

His book includes exercises to decrease the imbalances between right and left hemisphere of the brain -which help with sensory issues, processing disorders, autoimmune illness and food intolerance. This research also supports the use of modalities like Asian Bodywork Therapy using acupressure points to manipulate the body and neural connections.  Practices such as qi gong, yoga and tai chi are other excellent cross-body therapies to integrate the body and the brain.

With this epidemic we will need to use a variety of tools.  The practitioners at Boise Natural Health can help you find the right supplements, help you heal your gut, increase your nutritional awareness and even desensitize food and environmental intolerances that are impacting your health.


ADHD Services at Boise Natural Health

Joan Haynes, NMD

At Boise Natural Health, we treat both children and adults with ADHD and related disorders.  Many of our patients want natural options instead of, or in addition to, medication.  We work to create an individualized program drawing on services listed on this page.

Related disorders also treated

  • ADD
  • OCD
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Chronic allergies
  • Anger/irritability issues
  • Depression
  • Autism

Lab testing often considered for ADHD offered by BNH

  • Food Allergy/Sensitivity (IgG, IgA, IgE, Neuromuscular Sensitivity Testing)
  • Neurotransmitter (serotonin, GABA, dopamine and others)
  • Thyroid, adrenal, sex hormones
  • Nutritional screening such as anemia, vitamin D


The basis of any holistic program is nutrition.  Optimizing the diet can help control blood sugar, reduce inflammation, increase nutrient uptake, prevent long term health complications and so much more.  Mood, focus, behavior, sleep are all related to diet.

At BNH we can

  1. Test for nutritional deficiencies
  2. Provide proper nutritional supplementation
  3. Test for and treat food allergies and sensitivities
  4. Help you learn to cook healthier foods for the whole family

Targeted Amino Acid Therapy

TAAT is the use of supplemental amino acids to help balance brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and other aspects of the physiology. For this type of treatment to be most effective, it should include a specialized neurotransmitter urinalysis test which provides a reliable means of measuring excretory values for neurotransmitters. From those findings an individualized protocol of amino acid supplementation is devised to improve the quantity and ratios of neurotransmitters in the brain.


Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on specific symptoms, the practitioner will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient.
Read more about Homeopathy


Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, or NAET, is an all natural, drug-free treatment for eliminating allergies, food intolerances, and chemical sensitivities, and resolving allergy related conditions. It is completely painless, and non-invasive. NAET may treat and correct the food, environmental and chemical sensitivities that add to the severity of ADHD.  NAET also helps “reprogram the brain” to help connect neurological pathways.
Read more about NAET Services offered by Boise Natural Health

NAET Allergy Treatments for Kids

Emily Yuen, ABT

Are you looking for allergy relief for your child after policing every morsel of food that passed his/her lips for fear of a miserable symptom?  Are you tired of bringing special snacks to every kid gathering and worrying about the consequences if an offending food slips by your radar?

NAET is a non-invasive technique that identifies and treats allergic responses and sensitivities including food related illnesses, hay fever, seasonal allergies and environmental allergies. Many parents are reluctant to use pharmaceutical medications to treat their childrens’ symptoms, and want a safe and effective alternative NAET could be your answer. Call for a free 10 minute consult with Emily Yuen.

NAET was developed by Dr. Devi Nambudripad in 1983 and has since been used by allopathic and complimentary practitioners worldwide with great success. NAET treatments involve painless and stress-free testing and treatments, followed by a  minimum of a 25 hour avoidance of the treated substance.

Summertime is an ideal time to treat children with NAET; not only is there abundance of fresh, healthy food choices to eat during the avoidance periods, there is more time and supervision to ensure successful completion. Successful treatments will mean a healthier child, and a relaxed and happy parent! By treating the food items in the summer it prepares the child to be ready for treating any problemed environmental allergens in the winter when they are dormant and avoidance is easy.

Read more information about NAET.

Food Reactions and ADHD

Emily Yuen, ABT

Do you or your child suffer from Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder?
Are you looking for natural treatments as an alternative to medication?

Many children and adults with ADHD and related disorders have food sensitivities that contribute to their symptoms of inattentiveness or hyperactivity. Food sensitivities and allergies can have profound effects on focus, mood, and behavior. Wheat, dairy, sugar, and eggs are common triggers for people who suffer from Behavioral disorders, though there can be many others.  Sensitivities to the environment, microorganisms, and even to fragrance can also contribute.  Avoiding problematic foods and/or completing the NAET protocol (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) are both effective methods of treating ADHD and related disorders. Other services available for ADHD at BNHC are found here.

If you or your child have been diagnosed with ADHD and have not investigated foods via blood testing or an Elimination and Challenge Diet, this is an important first step. Once the reactive foods have been identified, the next step is to remove them from the diet. Some patients choose to stop there and avoid the foods to reduce symptoms. However, for those who prefer not to have a limited diet, or are not able to fully control their child’s diet, the NAET protocol can be a better long-term choice for treatment.

What is NAET?

Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, or NAET, is a revolutionary, all natural, drug-free treatment for eliminating allergies, food intolerances, environmental and chemical sensitivities, and resolving allergy related conditions, often with lasting results. It is completely painless, and non-invasive. NAET theory draws from various medical disciplines: Conventional (Allopathic), Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Kinesiology, and Nutrition.

NAET can be used for any age patient. It utilizes specific acupressure points along the spine to safely desensitize the body to allergens and sensitivities.

What Does Treatment Involve?

NAET therapy is painless and easy. It utilizes Neuromuscular Sensitivity Testing (muscle testing) which indicates weaknesses in the body caused by offending substances. The practitioner then stimulates specific pressure points along the spine while the patient holds the offending substance. This retrains the body to recognize the substance as benign. The patient must completely avoid the treated item for 25 hours following the treatment. Reactive items are treated one at a time following a specific sequence. It may take only one or two treatments to eliminate each reactive item. Once the first 15 basic treatments are completed, patients can begin tailoring treatments to specific issues.

To learn more about NAET, visit our NAET Services page.

Have more questions about NAET? You can schedule a free ten minute consult by calling our office at 208-338-0405 or come to one of our Monthly Open Houses.

Managing Childhood Behavioral Disorders

Joan Haynes, NMD

View this slide presentation on childhood_behavior_disorders.

In recent years, diagnoses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder, and autistic spectrum disorders in children have skyrocketed. Labeling children with diagnoses such as these tends to overlook the real issue – what is the underlying cause(s)?

Naturopathic physicians address the underlying cause by diagnosing not just the behavior disorder itself but also the biochemical processes that contribute it. Many of these children with behavioral and emotional problems are treated with psychiatric medications and their families are given few other options. An effective approach needs to involve relational, nutritional and environmental factors. The result? A happier, healthier child, and a more peaceful family and school experience.

If your child suffers from one of these labels:

  1. Ask for help. Parents are overwhelmed and tired, often struggling with similar symptoms themselves. We just can’t do this alone and do not need to reinvent the wheel. It often takes more than one professional expert and a team approach. Involve the school counselor, take parenting classes, find medical providers who welcome your questions and have new ideas. Find credible reading material. Create a plan for action.
  2. Get an accurate diagnosis not a label. If you want to avoid prescription medication, you’ll need to become proactive. Testing is available for food allergies, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, hypoglycemia, hidden infections, lack of integrity in the
    digestive system, and toxic overload.
  3. Focus on the things you can change. Daily multivitamin,omega-3 oils and other specific supplements. Treat hypoglycemia with regular protein based snacks. Avoid or desensitize them to food and environmental allergens. Make positive lifestyle changes for you and your family. Consider homeopathy.


Please Don’t Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective  Choices for Your Child’s Emotional Health by Scott M. Shannon and Emily Heckman

Ritalin-Free Kids: Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADHD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders by Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth

Preconception Screening to Reduce the Risk of Having an Autistic Child

Preconception Screening for Autism – Taken from Dr. Melillo​ Book Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders–and What Parents Can Do Now

Are you worried that you are at high risk for having a child in the autistic spectrum and want to assess and then reduce your risk before conception here are some tips of things you can test for.

  • Screen for Diabetes – Fasting Blood Glucose
  • Lipid Panel – Cholesterol
  • CMP – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • CBC – Complete Blood Count with Diff & Ferritin
  • Vitamin D3
  • Thyroid : TSH, free T4, free T3
  • CRP – C-reactive protein – To identify the presence of inflammation

If CRP shows up test for Th1 and TH2 to find out if the pro-inflammatory response or the anti-inflammatory response is out of balance.

Other considerations to test if it is warranted:

  • Food allergy (IgE) & food sensitivity(IgG)  panel and celiac disease
  • ANA – Fluorescent Antinuclear Antibody –  Auto immune deficiency  markers

If any of these tests bring something up that needs address. Let us help get it back in balance through  things such as diet, supplementation and/or NAET before conception.