Here’s What You need to Know about Kanmushi and Sugar Bugs
Doc Smitty with information on syndrome in traditional Japanese medicine
Kanmushi is a described syndrome in traditional Japanese medicine that is said to be linked to an insatiable desire for sugar and “insomnia, crying, irritability, bad mood, night terrors, biting people, biting nails, abdominal bloating due to over-eating, temporary fever, vomiting milk, vomiting in general, poor appetite, diarrhea, runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, easily catches cold, allotriophagy (desire for unusual or abnormal food), excessive drooling, tics, urticaria and swollen lymph glands.”
The primary identifying marker of Kanmushi is suggested to be a prominent blue vein on the child’s nose, commonly known as a sugar bug.
Truth? Unlikely. Any syndrome that crosses over this number of systems and describes what often normal symptoms (at least temporarily) should be considered with extreme caution (or ignored).
No scientific studies have shown a link between sugar bugs and any clinical condition.
The good news about Kanmushi are the recommendations for treatment: limit processed sugar, encourage healthy play and set clear boundaries.
I don’t need to diagnose a child with a syndrome to encourage these habits but if it helps encourage these healthy habits…maybe we should all have it.
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.