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Gluten Allergy Symptoms in Children

Pediatrics and Child Health

Gluten allergy symptoms are caused by sensitivity to gluten which consists of proteins called giadin and glutenin. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains in the grass family and when consumed can cause serious digestive problems for the child with a gluten allergy. The immune system initiates a hypersensitive reaction to this allergen. The immune system will attack the gluten protein and damage the villi in the small intestine, this is called villous atrophy. Villi are the tiny hairs in your small intestine that absorb nutrition as food passes through. Some children have a serious gluten allergy called celiac disease (an auto immune disorder) and must be monitored closely by their physician for their gluten allergy symptoms.

Gluten Allergy Symptoms in Children: Identifying the Problem

Gluten allergy symptoms can develop in the form of cramping, gas and bloating or diarrhea when eating products containing gluten such as pastas and bread. Over the long term severe symptoms include things like anemia, weight loss, fatigue, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease and in rare cases cancer. This is why it’s so important to act quickly when you suspect gluten allergies. But these symptoms are not exclusive to gluten allergies and the child’s physician may need to run several tests including an upper endoscopy to properly diagnose your child’s gluten allergy symptoms.

Anytime your child has unusual signs or symptoms of illness, such as those seen in gluten allergies you will want to observe when these symptoms occur, how often and the duration of the episodes. For example, your child may experience painful gas and bloating following breakfast and is generally relieved within an hour after having explosive diarrhea. Keeping a food diary will be helpful to the physician in diagnosing and to you as you will learn which foods to avoid in the child’s diet. If your child does indeed have gluten allergy your doctor will advise you on a diet for the child and seeking the advice of a dietician or nutritionist will help as well.

Managing Gluten Allergy

If your child is suffering with gluten allergy, don’t despair. Gluten allergy symptoms can be managed by excluding foods containing gluten from your child’s diet. It is surprising how even very young children can comprehend their gluten allergy and will make the right food choices. They soon learn which foods will cause gas and bloating and will avoid gluten. We are very fortunate today as there are many gluten free products that at readily available for people with gluten allergies such as potato starch flour and white rice flour. There are many delicious and nutritious gluten-free recipes and products available for people with gluten allergy symptoms.

If your particular grocery store doesn’t carry these gluten free products, ask them to. They are often willing to comply with special requests of their regular customers. Most food items you’ll need can be found at a health food store but grocery chains are carrying more products than ever before for those with special needs. You must read all the labels on the food products carefully, not only when you buy them but each time you use them because manufacturers may change their recipes and add a food that can trigger gluten allergy symptoms.

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