What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a serious digestive system condition in which the small intestine is attacked by the body’s immune system, causing functional damage. This restricts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This happens when a person with the disease consumes foods and beverages containing gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, wheat, and rye and foods made with these ingredients. People with the condition become ill after eating foods that contain gluten. Gluten can be found in non-food products as well, such as lip balms, medicines, and vitamins. So, it is important that people with the disease or parents of children with the disease are aware of the ingredients of the foods and products they use. Food and health and beauty product manufacturers are required to disclose if their products contain gluten. Then it is time to start living a gluten free lifestyle and eat gluten free foods.
Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children
Celiac Disease Symptoms in your child may differ from those in adults, and include physical developmental related issues. You may need to have your child evaluated for Celiac Disease if he or she has any of the following symptoms:
- Digestive Tract Problems – Children with Celiac Disease often have excessive bouts of diarrhea, pain, and abdominal bloating. Some children may have alternating constipation and diarrhea.
- Anemia – Children can easily become anemic when they are not getting enough iron-rich nutrients from daily food consumption.
- Malnutrition and Weight Loss – This is a result of malabsorption caused by the inability of the body to absorb nutrients from foods.
- Abnormally Slow Growth – This is due to developmental issues caused by the disease, which leads to stunted growth in children and the failure to thrive.
- Other Symptoms – Children with this disease often show signs of irritability and personality changes, and may have difficulty concentrating or remembering.
Recovery for Children with Celiac Disease
Currently, there is no cure for Celiac Disease and the best treatment includes a strict gluten free diet. Your child’s road to recovery is a challenge, because it will take some time for your child to get used to the gluten free lifestyle and specifically the taste of gluten free foods. This does not mean that gluten free foods taste bad, it means that when children are used to eating regular breads made from wheat, it could take them a little time to get used to eating breads that are made from potato or other flours. Thre are many great cookbooks that contain gluten free bread recipes or dessert recipes. Also, unlike adults whose intestines may take several months or years to get better, your child’s intestines should heal within several weeks. This is because the diagnosis came early in life and you started them on a gluten free diet of gluten free foods.
If your child has Celiac Disease try not to be discouraged or allow your child to become discouraged. Just remember how important it is to make sure you and your child is educated about Celiac, sticks to the gluten free diet plan, and stays away from products containing gluten. This is especially true if your child does not feel better right away. Let your child know that recovery takes a little time and is different for everyone. You and your child will soon realize relief from Celiac Disease Symptoms and the gluten free way of life will come naturally.