Warning: Kids Can Be Affected With Celiac Disease

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  • Children between 6 months and 2 years old can already have celiac disease, especially when they’re exposed to gluten-containing foods
  • Inform teachers and coaches about what your child is going through and the nature of the disease, and discuss plans that can be made for your child at school

Unfortunately, celiac disease doesn’t spare anyone. Children between 6 months and 2 years old can already have this, especially when they’re exposed to gluten-containing foods.1

If you’re worried that your child might have celiac disease, learn more about the common signs of this condition and know what you can do alleviate the pain they experience.

Common Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children

Celiac disease can already manifest in children as young as 2 years old, and here are some of the usual indicators:2

Vomiting

Chronic diarrhea

A swollen belly

Failure to thrive, wherein weight or rate of weight gain is significantly lower compared to other children of similar age and gender3

Poor appetite

Muscle wasting

Diarrhea

Constipation

Weight loss

Irritability

Short stature

Delayed puberty

Neurological symptoms like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination and seizures


Complications of Celiac Disease in Children

Consult a physician immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in your child. There are complications that may occur if the illness isn’t acted upon immediately, such as:4

Malnutrition that could lead to either slow growth or short stature

Softening of the bone (osteomalacia or rickets)

Failure to thrive

Delayed puberty

Weight loss

Irritability

Dental enamel defects

Anemia

Arthritis

Epilepsy

What to Do If Your Child Has Celiac Disease

Fortunately, there are ways that you, as a parent or guardian, can help your child feel that he or she is not alone. Despite the condition, there are ways to re-establish a sense of normalcy. FoxNews Health shares some valuable tips:5

Talk to your child about the disease: Let your child know about the basics of celiac disease, especially if the diagnosis was recent, using words that are appropriate for his or her age. Tell the child why certain foods should be avoided and reassure him or her that there are still foods that can be enjoyed. Try to discuss with the child about the commitment that this particular diet would entail as well.

As Rachel Begun, a culinary nutritionist and gluten-related disorders expert, says, “You want to set the tone that while this doesn’t have to define their life, it is something that has to be properly managed on a daily basis.”

Let your child know about the gluten-free diet and facilitate involvement: A gluten-free diet is the primary course of action6 for celiac disease patients.7 If your child is of the right age and is mature enough to understand this, involve him or her in activities like meal planning, food shopping, reading labels, placing restaurant orders, packing lunches and cooking.

Begun highlights that children are “empowered to make their own food and they’ll have the confidence to make decisions about what they can and can’t eat.” Children don’t appreciate parents who dictate what they should eat or not. If the parent or guardian continues this habit, children are more likely to push back or give in, albeit forced.

Take the initiative and learn more about the disease: Read books and/or articles about celiac disease. Who knows, you may pick up a new piece of information immediately. Look for creative ways to make your child’s life easier as well, especially when it comes to meals. Purchase cookbook/s, subscribe to a magazine/s or browse the internet for gluten-free recipes that you think will appeal to your child.

Talk to your child’s teachers and coaches: Inform them about what your child is going through and the nature of the disease, and discuss plans that can be made for your child at school. This is important if these people are in charge of your child’s meals away from home.

MORE ABOUT CELIAC DISEASE

Celiac Disease: Introduction

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease In Children

Celiac Disease Causes

Celiac Disease Types

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac Disease Prevention

Celiac Disease Diet

Celiac Disease FAQ

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