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3 Year Old: Celiac Symptoms?
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I have a 3 year old daughter who has symptoms that are making me suspect celiac. Medically, I understand that they may be just "extreme normals". But my "Mommy-Sensor" has been in high gear for weeks, and I want to thank you in advance for lending your experience with this. Here are the symptoms that concern me; I apologize if this gets long; I'm just worried. :huh:

1. Delayed growth. Research into causes for this led me to suspect celiac disease. She has always been petite, but on at least the 25-50th percentile on both height and weight, until her 3 yr checkup. All of a sudden, she has dropped to 10th percentile for weight (27#) and 3rd percentile for height (34 Inches).

She has very sporadic eating...sometimes like a picky toddler, then will have a few days of voracious appetite! (Of note, she also crawled and walked late as an infant...we did ECI physical therapy at home.)

2. EXTREME irritation/crankiness and tantrums; concentration problems. She has been a very pleasant little girl until about a month before she turned 3. Then she started having "rage fits", where she would become so upset that she shakes from it, balling up her fists. 3 minutes later, it's like it never happened. 10 minutes later, she's crying because of something else. It's like she has PMS! Her teachers have also talked to me about her "difficulty with circle time". I first excused it as typical toddler behavior, but they insist that it is new for her; that she didn't have this problem before.

3. Frequent BMs, approx 3-5 per day. Not usually diarrhea, they are formed, but light brown. Constipation is a problem sometimes. She does have a skin tag at her rectum. She also has to urinate VERY frequently, and has had a couple wetting accidents recently (abnormal for her; she's been potty trained since 2.5 yrs).

4. Sleep disturbances. Starting at about 2.5 yrs old, she started having night terrors. Those have thankfully stopped, but she doesn't sleep restfully; tossing and turning all night.

5. Bruising/nosebleeds. She bruises on her arms/legs easily, (what toddlers don't when they fall down on the playground), but she also gets bruises on her belly and back too. She has had 3 nosebleeds in the last week.

6. Pale skin. We have not had her iron levels checked.

7. Frequently complains of abdominal pain--probably 3 or 4 times a week. Some mornings, especially, she cries b/c it hurts so bad, and asks for "tummy medicine" before going to daycare.

8. Itching. I don't see much of a rash, but she constantly scratches at her torso. It's like an invisible eczema. If I don't keep her nails short, she will cause gashes; she sometimes does it in her sleep without realizing it.

Thanks again. I would like to have this followed up with her pediatrician if its warranted, but don't want to the "over-paranoid" mom.

-Tammy

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Celiac can have many varied symptoms. As you have described. Discuss this with the ped and get her tested. Her vitamin and nutrient levels should also be tested. It seems common for undiagnosed Celiacs to also have abnormal liver results too.

Keep her on gluten for the testing process. She will need a Celiac blood panel done first and then a endoscopy with biopsy. It is very scarey to put your little one under anesthia, but really you should find out how much damage from Celiac and/or other issues that can be diagnosed with the scoping.

You can start a food journal with symptoms and BM's charted. It can help determine if there are other food intolerances.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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My daughter had several of those symptoms at 3. Her growth hadn't tapered off yet, but she had weird skin things and sleep issues. Dark circles under eyes and weird bowel movements. She wasn't diagnosed 'til 9, but I always wondered why about age 3-4 her toddler belly hadn't flattened.

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It definitely sounds like food issues of some kind, oh yeah. And if it's celiac disease? Folks with this gene are more prone to OTHER food sensitivities and intolerances, so I'd second the food journal. If your little one is intolerant or sensitive, as opposed to allergic, there's no other way to figure it out EXCEPT the journal. They don't have reliable tests except for lactose and fructose intolerance. And most doctors, sadly, aren't really that helpful with this part of things.

The itching - that makes me think food allergy could be a problem. Either the main one, or on top of. Although there is a rash that comes with celiac, but that's usually visible, I believe.

The bruising - I would really get that checked. I have not heard of that before with celiac disease, and that's something that I would put higher on the worry list. Might be from vitamin deficiencies from celiac disease, maybe? But I know there are other diseases that can cause excessive bruising that are a bit worrisome.

Just as a personal comparison? AFTER being diagnosed with celiac disease, I was noticing other symptoms involving pain, headaches, tummy aches, etc... With the right doctors, finally found out I'm allergic to a host of my main foods (dairy, soy, legumes) and some personal research discovered a host of other foods that make me feel 'bad' when I eat them, even if I'm not allergic to them.

Wish you and your little one good luck!!!

I have a 3 year old daughter who has symptoms that are making me suspect celiac. Medically, I understand that they may be just "extreme normals". But my "Mommy-Sensor" has been in high gear for weeks, and I want to thank you in advance for lending your experience with this. Here are the symptoms that concern me; I apologize if this gets long; I'm just worried. :huh:

1. Delayed growth. Research into causes for this led me to suspect celiac disease. She has always been petite, but on at least the 25-50th percentile on both height and weight, until her 3 yr checkup. All of a sudden, she has dropped to 10th percentile for weight (27#) and 3rd percentile for height (34 Inches).

She has very sporadic eating...sometimes like a picky toddler, then will have a few days of voracious appetite! (Of note, she also crawled and walked late as an infant...we did ECI physical therapy at home.)

2. EXTREME irritation/crankiness and tantrums; concentration problems. She has been a very pleasant little girl until about a month before she turned 3. Then she started having "rage fits", where she would become so upset that she shakes from it, balling up her fists. 3 minutes later, it's like it never happened. 10 minutes later, she's crying because of something else. It's like she has PMS! Her teachers have also talked to me about her "difficulty with circle time". I first excused it as typical toddler behavior, but they insist that it is new for her; that she didn't have this problem before.

3. Frequent BMs, approx 3-5 per day. Not usually diarrhea, they are formed, but light brown. Constipation is a problem sometimes. She does have a skin tag at her rectum. She also has to urinate VERY frequently, and has had a couple wetting accidents recently (abnormal for her; she's been potty trained since 2.5 yrs).

4. Sleep disturbances. Starting at about 2.5 yrs old, she started having night terrors. Those have thankfully stopped, but she doesn't sleep restfully; tossing and turning all night.

5. Bruising/nosebleeds. She bruises on her arms/legs easily, (what toddlers don't when they fall down on the playground), but she also gets bruises on her belly and back too. She has had 3 nosebleeds in the last week.

6. Pale skin. We have not had her iron levels checked.

7. Frequently complains of abdominal pain--probably 3 or 4 times a week. Some mornings, especially, she cries b/c it hurts so bad, and asks for "tummy medicine" before going to daycare.

8. Itching. I don't see much of a rash, but she constantly scratches at her torso. It's like an invisible eczema. If I don't keep her nails short, she will cause gashes; she sometimes does it in her sleep without realizing it.

Thanks again. I would like to have this followed up with her pediatrician if its warranted, but don't want to the "over-paranoid" mom.

-Tammy

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Just wanted to update: She has an appt with her pedi tomorrow morning. I'm actually a little nervous about it. Even after fighting internally with myself about how to best addressing this, and then deciding that getting the tests now rather than later was the best idea, I'm still nervous about the appt.

buffetbride: it's funny you mention about the "toddler belly". Some days, she has this, and other days its not as noticeable.

I think at the very least, I'm going to request the thyroid panel, CBC, and celiac panel. I just hope the pedi is receptive to it.

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Update....

So we took her in to the pedi, who agreed that she still isn't growing, but didn't seem overly concerned about it at first. Her weight was- again- 27.1 lbs. She agreed that she needed her thyroid checked, as well as a CBC to make sure she was anemic or her glucose too high...

She didn't pop to celiac herself, so I mentioned it. The pedi tried to tell me that kids with celiac will present with diarrhea, which DD doesn't have. I didn't argue, b/c at that point she agreed to go ahead and "do the test since she's already getting blood drawn". However, she did seem a little more for the test when she realized that my husband has Hashimoto's and my mom has Lupus/Rheumatoid Arthritis, so DD has autoimmune disorders on both sides of the family.

While I was glad, it was frustrating to find that ALL of the blood tests came back normal. What bothers me a little though is that for the "celiac test", she only drew an serum IgA, nothing else. She does want to see her back in a few months to f/u on her growth and GI/abdominal issues, so I guess if we're still having the issues, I'll push for an endo consult. I realize that the IgA is not as reliable in a 3 year old, but I don't want to take her off gluten unnecessarily, especially if it will affect test results that we may be able to get later.

I'm so frustrated for my poor girl. She's been doing okay the last few days, except one episode of her random vomiting, and still having several BMs a day. I just don't want to miss something that could be important....

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Please ask to be reffered to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Or at least food allergy testing.

Having to watch your child vomit on a daily basis for no aparent reason along with the other symptoms are reason enough.

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Please ask to be reffered to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Or at least food allergy testing.

Having to watch your child vomit on a daily basis for no aparent reason along with the other symptoms are reason enough.

you might also want to consider being referred to a pediatric GI gastro doc who actually specializes in celiacs. you'd be surprised how many docs,

my husband who is also a doc, is included who are unaware about the prevalance of celiacs and their symptoms. it's recently gotten more attention lately, but there are still some who don't know enough, like our pediatrician and our initial ped GI doc (who didn't specialize in celiacs).

re: the blood testing for celiac panel, one of my son's tested negative and my other son positive and they all have the same symptoms of doing better on a gluten free diet. otherwise their symptoms would be DH, severe stomach pain, etc... from what i've been reading and from what i've heard from ROCK (raising our celiac kids group in san diego) is that some labs are uninformed and don't really know what to look for in the celiac panel. some recommend doing genetic testing which may or may not be covered under your insurance through from what i heard (again through ROCK) is a prestigious company 'prometheus' who does a more accurate celiac genetic testing. you can probably find the ads on this site.

good luck!

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hi I know this post is really old but my 3 year old was suffering almost the exact same symptoms. We did an elimination diet and from that he doesn't have gluten or dairy.. We are just starting with doc and specialist to test for Celiac. I was just wondering what was the outcome for your daughter??? 

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Random vomiting isn't normal. I definitely see a gastro or rule out other food allergies. My little guy also asked for tummy meds all the time before his diagnoses and was vomiting. 

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