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Help With Toddler Symptoms?!
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5 posts in this topic

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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    • by the way, I do find the lab who does the gluten sensitive test Gluten Allergy IgE Test This test is used to determine if a person has an allergic reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.  Roughly 1 in 30 adults and 1 in 40 children suffer from a Gluten Allergy.  An IgE test looks for antibodies which develop in a person who has a particular allergy.  Gluten Allergy can display symptoms similar to other conditions such as Celiac Disease.  Unlike an allergy, Celiac Disease can do permanent harm to the body if left untreated.  Allergy testing when a person is experiencing symptoms can help identify or rule out an allergy as the cause.

      Gluten Allergy is typically less severe than other Gluten related conditions like Celiac Disease.  People with Gluten Allergy will often experience abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea when they eat products containing gluten.  These symptoms usually stop when a person cuts gluten out of their diet.

      A Gluten Allergy IgE test can be ordered to help determine if someone allergic to gluten.  This test can also be ordered when a person is testing for Celiac Disease and has had negative results on Celiac specific antibody tests.  An allergy test can also be ordered prior to Celiac testing to rule out Gluten Allergy as a likely cause for a person’s symptoms.
    • so does it mean a person who carry dq2 or dq8 gene will have high chance to develp celiac disease if they continue to eat gluten or some other stuff trigger it??      
    • I just wanted to share my experience. I started with the endoscopy because I was having symptoms of a hernia + I had a colonoscopy at the same time to test for Chron's. While getting the scope the doctor noticed damage of the small intestine and did biopsies and they came back positive for Celiac disease. We followed up with the necessary blood work to confirm and those all came back like yours, negative, however my genetic testing was positive. So although rare, it is possible to test negative on the blood work and still have damage and be a positive. I don't know why my blood work was off, but I am glad I had the scope first because I would have never known the damage I was doing if I relied solely on the blood work. 
    • You're welcome. Good that you're having the gene test as well. If you DO have the gene(s) then you realize one can present with celiac at any point in life -- any age -- so you would need to be tested like you were, every 2 years in the absence of symptoms. If one develops symptoms then they need to be tested right away instead of waiting for the 2 yr. mark. It's not common, but is possible to test negative on the blood and still have villi damage on endoscopic biopsy. So depending on the results of the gene test....... you might see if your doc will do a endoscopy for you OR you might be what they refer to as something like a pre-celiac where you're not testing positive yet but most likely will soon.
    • Just don't give up.  Good luck and best wishes to you.  Let me know how it's going for you.  Been there, done this.  It ain't fun.
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