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Understanding PANS – Exploring Natural Therapies


with Kristie Folkes

Do you suspect PANS is the cause of your child’s behavioural changes? Has your child suddenly displayed behaviour that is confusing and seems out of line with their Character? Did the behaviour begin following an infection, an injury or even a traumatic event? Has your child developed TICS and OCD out of the blue?

What is PANS?
Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is a sudden-onset neuropsychiatric disorder affecting children, characterised by a range of symptoms including a sudden onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), severe eating restrictions, anxiety, TICS, and other behavioural changes including regression in behaviour. These symptoms can be disabling, causing significant distress and impairment in a child’s daily life.

What causes PANS?
The precise cause of PANS is not fully understood, but it’s believed to involve an abnormal immune response triggered by infections, environmental factors, or other immune dysregulations. This immune response can lead to inflammation in the brain, resulting in neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Why is it important to understand PANS?
Knowledge about PANS guides healthcare professionals in developing effective treatment plans tailored to each child. This understanding ensures that treatments target the immune-related aspects of the disorder, leading to better management of symptoms and improved quality of life.

Coexisting conditions
We often see with PANS include ADHD, nutrient deficiencies, learning disorders, and mood disorders.

Challenges in Diagnosis
There are many challenges in diagnosing PANS, including its sudden onset and the need to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.


Treatment can include:

  • Functional testing is often recommended including stool test, neurotransmitter tests, blood tests and/or hair mineral tests. Testing helps us to get to the root of the current inflammation.
  • Dietary evaluation – to support brain health and reduce inflammation.
  • Probiotics and Gut Health: Certain probiotic strains may support a healthy gut microbiome, which can positively influence the immune system and reduce inflammation. 
  • Herbs that may assist in reducing inflammation, managing stress and anxiety, which are common in PANS.
  • Mind-Body Practices: Mindfulness practices can help reduce stress, anxiety, and improve overall well-being.
  • Physical activity

Conventional Treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: If triggered by an infection, treating the underlying infection with appropriate antibiotics is a common approach.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce brain inflammation associated with PANS.
  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy can be beneficial in managing symptoms. Immunomodulatory Therapy: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasmapheresis aim to modulate the immune system and reduce symptoms.

Understanding PANS is crucial for improving the lives of affected children, supporting their families, optimising healthcare resources, fostering research, and ultimately advancing our ability to effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent this complex neuropsychiatric syndrome. It is a critical step towards a more informed and compassionate approach to addressing PANS within the medical, social, and research communities.

As PANS is complex a multidisciplinary approach for comprehensive management is encouraged at The Health Lodge including GPs, psychologist, osteopaths, and other therapists.

If you suspect PANS or would like to explore this further please book your FREE 15 minute discovery call with Naturopath Kristie Folkes at The Health Lodge. 

Kristie Folkes is an integrative Naturopath with over 20 years of experience working with children, teens and adults achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Kristie specialises in neurological presentations such as ADHD, autism, OCD, tics, PANS and PANDAS and behavioural issues.  With her expertise, empathy, and genuine love for children, Kristie is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of young ones. She is committed to helping children and their families achieve optimal health, happiness, and overall well-being through the principles of naturopathic medicine.

To learn more about Kristie and her offerings, click here

Or book online here

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