Are you concerned that your child may have celiac disease? If so, you’re not alone—1 in every 300 children have this condition. While it can be scary to think about your child having a chronic health condition, it’s important to understand the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for celiac disease so that you can be better prepared and informed.
Knowledge is power when it comes to helping your child get a diagnosis and manage their condition. Learn everything you need to know about celiac disease in kids here.
A Pinch of Gluten: The Silent Enemy for Some
First things first, understanding what happens with celiac disease is crucial. For a child with celiac disease, even a pinch of gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) causes a reaction in their immune system that damages the lining of their small intestine. This damage prevents the body from absorbing essential nutrients, leading to malnourishment and other health complications.
Tummy Troubles and More: Signs To Keep an Eye On
For children, symptoms of celiac disease may mimic what seems like regular tummy troubles. Pain, bloating, and diarrhea can be a common occurrence, but there are some other, more specific signs that you can watch for.
Unexplained Iron-Deficiency Anemia
If your child has a recurrent iron deficiency and doctors can’t find a cause for it, exploring the possibility of celiac disease may be a good idea.
If your child isn’t growing at a normal rate or they experience delayed puberty, it might be a sign that they’re not absorbing nutrients properly due to celiac disease.
Mood and Behavioral Issues
Unexplained irritability, fatigue, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be a result of celiac disease.
Temporary or Permanent: Is Celiac a Lifelong Disease?
A common myth about celiac disease is that children can outgrow it. But unfortunately, celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disorder. Once your child has it, they’ll have it for the rest of their life. The good news is that by getting your child on a strict gluten-free diet, you can reverse many of the symptoms and complications associated with celiac disease and help them stay healthy.
Managing Celiac Disease in Little Munchkins
Managing celiac disease is as simple as putting your child on a gluten-free diet. It’s important to remove any food containing wheat, barley, or rye from your child’s meals. This includes many processed foods as well as traditionally gluten-containing products, such as bread and pasta.
The good news is that there are lots of delicious options available for kids with celiac disease. Gluten-free grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat, are a great source of fiber. You can also find lots of wonderful gluten-free snacks that your little one will love, such as popcorn, nuts, and fruit.
Celiac disease can be a challenging journey, but now that you know the essentials about celiac disease in kids, you can help your child manage their condition. With the right treatment and support, they can lead a happy, healthy life!