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Help With Toddler Symptoms?!
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Hi, Everyone.

I'm new to the group but not to the exciting world of food allergies and intolerance, unfortunately. My two year old son can claim quite a collection of food allergies and intolerances. His food issues were so extensive that he literally stopped eating solid food by 11 months old, refusing anything but formula. It's taken us over a year to get back on track.

For most of his life, he's been gluten-free. He had an immediate and obvious reaction to a few mouthfuls of wheat cereal when he was about 10 months old. He didn't really have wheat again until the past few months. He seemed okay when we reintroduced--but then I began doubting after vague symptoms surfaced, and so I pulled gluten again. He was gluten-free again for a few weeks. After consulting our nutritionist, we decided to re-trial gluten beginning last Thursday. He's only had small amounts: one piece of sprouted spelt bread once a day, at varying times (sometimes at breakfast, sometimes lunch or dinner). That's it.

For four days, we saw no symptoms at all. On Monday night, though, he woke up screaming after a few hours of sleep. He was violent, confused, and furiously upset. It took us an hour to calm him and get him back to sleep. This happened again on Thursday night, but it was even more terrifying of an episode, and it took two hours to settle him. He finally ate some granola and fell back asleep. It was as if he had some kind of hypoglycemic reaction. On Wednesday evening and again tonight (Friday evening), he had really terrible temper tantrums that resembled these nighttime events. It takes a long time to settle him, and he's violent, inconsolable, and incoherent during these episodes.

The strange thing is that he otherwise seems okay during the day. He's with a babysitter all day, and she's had not a single problem with him all week. He's pleasant as can be, eats well, naps well, and has no behavioral issues. She's been shocked to hear what he's been like at night. He's perhaps a bit gassier than usual. But it's otherwise just these later evening and nighttime issues that we're noticing.

So, my questions are: Does this seem consistent with a gluten intolerance? Have any of you had similar experiences? And do children ever outgrow a gluten intolerance, or are we possibly stuck with this? (Info online seems to be a little contradictory.)

I'm not looking for medical advice--sadly, we have quite a team assembled already!--but I'd love to hear about your experiences. Since he has SO many food intolerances and allergies (including things like corn, which of course is in so many gluten-free products!), losing gluten would be devastating to this very weary mama. I should add that he's been scoped, as they were looking for eosinophilic esophagitis, and his Celiac biopsy was negative--but he was hardly eating any gluten (or food!) at this point anyway. He's otherwise had no bloodwork.

Could I possibly blame these strange outbursts on something else?--not getting enough sleep, a growth spurt, or the heat?? Or might we be pulling gluten...again?

Many many thanks!

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Okay, I can only tell you what other mothers have told me at celiac conferences. I'm very interested in this topic, because I suspect that my nephew has celiac....and so I oftentimes quizzed parents of toddlers and children about symptoms. Parents, as well as conference presenters, described a toddler/child as being out of control, violent, angry, screaming, and sometimes hitting. Also, the kids can be become overly anxious, clingy, and afraid. These symptoms matched my nephew exactly. However, in reading "Primal Body, Primal Mind," I learned that such symptoms can also occur with other food intolerances. It sounds, though, that the reintroduction of gluten may have caused your son's symptoms.

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Thanks for your response! I asked our pediatrician last night if we could do some blood tests, but he said that my son would have to be eating gluten for these to be effective. Is this true? I know that you need to be consuming gluten to do an endoscopy/biopsy. But can't you test for some genetic markers for celiac, for instance, via blood test? Sorry...still learning.

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The reccomendation is usually to stay on gluten until the testing is done, I'm not positive on the genetic marker issue. A lot of times people are put on what they call a gluten challenge, basically eating gluten(and being miserable unfortunately) before being tested to ensure there's enough in the system to give appropriate results. I think it varies by MD but I'd go with what your MD says if you have a good one :) , good luck sounds like you're having quite the time. :(

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My son also has multiple food allergies. We decided to try to reintroduce peanut butter (his peanut allergy is small). We were thrilled that he did not present a rash this time, however, at night he had a night terror the first night we gave him peanut butter. He acted just like you described: crying, flailing, hitting, and inconsolable. The next night he woke up crying and had an accident. So, yes we have experienced something similar. I googled night terrors and food allergies and there seems to be a correlation between the two.

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