Are you wondering if your child may have gluten intolerance? Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, is found in many foods, including baked goods as well as many other processed food items. The only sure way to know that your child’s symptoms are caused by gluten tolerance is with a blood test conducted by a doctor. If you note the following symptoms in your child, ask the doctor about testing.
Gluten intolerance can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The most serious form of gluten intolerance is known as Celiac disease. This can lead to serious allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock, as well as malnutrition due to the body being unable to absorb nutrients. Slow growth due to an inability to absorb nutrients is a particular problem for those who develop gluten sensitivities as a child. This may be substantial enough to result in an infant diagnosed as ‘failure to thrive’ as a side effect of their inability to tolerate gluten.
Because gluten is found in so many foods, a child with a sensitivity who has not cut gluten out of their diet may feel sick or uncomfortable all of the time. If your child complains of a constant stomach ache, it may be a sign of gluten intolerance. Other symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
This constant pain can affect your child’s mood and their quality of life. Agitation, depression, and constant fatigue are other symptoms that may be caused by gluten. Though many of the symptoms of food intolerance are related to the digestive system, in fact, gluten intolerance can affect many other functions of the body. Some of the possible symptoms include eczema and skin rashes, substantial weight fluctuations, joint pain, headaches, and dental problems.
If you notice some or all of these symptoms, talk to your child’s pediatrician for information on testing for gluten intolerance and modifying your child’s diet to eliminate gluten.