Childhood reactions to food are common, and most aren’t dangerous. However, if your child has an adverse response to eating bread, pasta, and other grains, it is important to test for celiac disease. To find out more, call or make an appointment online today at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition throughout Illinois.
Celiac disease is a type of autoimmune disorder that results from an intolerance to gluten. When your child consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other foods contaminated with gluten, the body attacks itself and damages the lining of the intestines. This damage prevents nutrient absorption.
Celiac disease symptoms affect children in different ways, often depending on age.
Children begin eating solid food at around six months of age. Those with celiac disease don’t grow as well as their non-affected peers. Children with celiac disease are more likely to have diarrhea and gas.
Kids and teens with celiac disease often have abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation. Additionally, celiac often delays growth during puberty and causes skin rashes, anemia, elevated liver function tests, and osteoporosis.
The doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition diagnose celiac disease by reviewing your child’s medical history and symptoms before performing a physical exam. Blood tests help confirm the diagnosis.
Additionally, an endoscopy with biopsy enables the doctor to find changes to the villi that line the small intestine. A flexible tube-like instrument helps the doctor see into and obtain small tissue samples.
As of today, the only treatment available is the lifelong avoidance of products that contain gluten, including:
It is important to be aware of what and where you eat, as cross-contamination is common. Additionally, several medications and over-the-counter products also contain gluten.
Symptoms begin to improve within a week or two of the complete removal of gluten from your child’s diet. Symptoms dissipate entirely, and the lining of the intestine heals within a year for those with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet.
It is important to continue to follow a gluten-free diet even after symptoms disappear as celiac is a lifelong health issue.
To have your child diagnosed or for help monitoring your child’s celiac disease, call or make an appointment online today at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in the Southern and Western Chicago suburbs.