Milk Soy Protein Intolerance is commonly acknowledged and diagnosed by both pediatricians and family physicians. In the medical field the occurrence is also known as eosinophilic gastroenteritis or protein intolerance. MSPI is diagnosed through the history of an infant who displays irritable, colic-like behavior, poor growth, and abnormal stools, some of which visibly show blood. Confirmation of the diagnosis is made by a biopsy of the intestinal tissue showing an increased amount of eosinophilic cells, eroded intestinal villi, and hemorrhagic tissue. An increase in the level of eosinophilic cells may also correlate with an allergic response of the intestinal tissues due to the introduction of an allergic compound. Many physicians request that parents alter the infant's formula, or the mother's diet (for breastfed infants) prior to having a gastroenterologist perform an invasive biopsy, then if the symptoms diminish, or even cease, the diagnosis of MSPI is assumed.
Both formula-fed and breast-fed infants can develop an intolerance to cow's milk protein and also soy protein. For infants fed with the formula, it is easy to change to a different formula, but more specialized formulas are more expensive. For many families the costs of these formulas are prohibitive. For an infant who is breastfed, the mother's diet must be altered to avoid milk and soy proteins in order continue breastfeeding. This approach is certainly a much less costly solution to the dietary demands of an MSPI infant.
If MSPI is suspected, many physicians who first ask the mother to eliminate dairy products from her diet; then if the infant's symptoms decrease, the mother would be advised to continue the dietary restrictions. If these measures help, but the infant is still fussy, irritable, or having blood-streaked stools, then the physician would request that the mother remove all soy products from her diet as well. The mother is then usually given a list of ingredients to avoid and sent home (to see the list, click on "helpful Information"). Avoiding all foods that have milk and soy protein in them has been, until now, a very difficult, if not impossible task. Many mothers would simply quit breastfeeding and opt to use specialized formulas instead, no matter what the cost.