Are gluten intollerance symptoms different in children than they are in adults?  Well yes and no.

Children, like adults, can have any number of the symptoms in yesterdays post, and more.

Although celiac disease is a serious condition in adults, undiagnosed CD in children is a very real and serious health crisis.  With possibly as many as one in 80 children worldwide affected by celiac disease, it is being ranked as one of the most chronic childhood diseases affecting  children today.

Symptoms of a child with celiac disease can show up as early as three to five months after consuming gluten containing food for the first time, although for some children it can be as short as one month.  Some experts on feeding infants are recommending that solid foods not be introduced into the babys diet until almost five months old and should not be introduced to gluten containing food/cereal until after six month of age.

A celiac baby that is by all other standards “normal”, will thrive until gluten is introduced into his diet, then he may refuse to eat and fail to gain weight.

Symptoms can and do vary from one child to another, just as they do in adults.  Some children become very sick with severe diarrhea and dehydration.  Stools may become abnormal, they may be pale in color, float because of all the air and fat in them and smell horribly.  Your celiac child may become listless, irritable, have difficulty concentrating, be cranky and if a puberty age girl, have a delayed puberty.

If you suspect your child may have celiac disease, see a gastroenterologist and have them tested.  A simple blood test, IgA antihuman tissue transglutaminase (IgA TTG) and IGA endomysial antibody immunofluoresence (IgA EMA), can give you the answers that you are looking for.  If the blood tests are inconclusive, you may need to have an endoscopy of the small intestine done.  This is a minor proceedure that can give you an absolute answer.

However, DO NOT remove gluten from your childs diet before you have them tested.  Gluten must be present in the diet for the tests to be accurate.

Just know that celiac disease is a life long condition, but can be treated and controlled 100% by a gluten free diet.

With Halloween fast approaching, I will be talking about celebrating for the celiac child, with recipe substitutions and suggestions for trick or treating.

Mary Blackburn

Living Gluten Free