Pediatric Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

Pediatric Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

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Summary

Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a food allergy that occurs in the digestive tract and impacts mostly infants and young children.

Expanded overview

FPIES is type of food allergy that impacts mostly infants (0 to 1 year*) and young children (1 to 5 years**). It occurs when the digestive tract (also known as the gastrointestinal or GI tract), including the small intestine and colon, become inflamed and swollen in response to an allergic reaction.

FPIES is typically seen within the first few weeks or months of life, but can occur later if a child has only been breastfed. Children can, but will not always, outgrow FPIES by age 3.

Causes

FPIES is caused by ingesting a food or drink that triggers an allergic reaction.

Triggers

Triggers vary between children, as do allergies and the severity of the reaction to each trigger. Triggers can include:

  • Dairy and soy, including infant formulas
  • Rice, oats and barley
  • Green beans and peas
  • Sweet potatoes and squash
  • Chicken and turkey

Symptoms

Symptoms of FPIES include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Failure to thrive (trouble gaining weight)
  • Intense and frequent vomiting
  • Lack of energy (lethargy)
  • Weight loss

Anaphylactic shock symptoms

Anaphylactic shock (also called anaphylaxis) is a severe allergic reaction that comes on rapidly and must be treated immediately. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Cyanosis (bluish tint to lips and fingers)
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid pulse or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of the face (lips, throat or tongue)
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing or severe breathing problems

*Age of infants as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
**Age of young children as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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