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Extended Breastfeeding & Celiac Diagnosis


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#16 nicolebeth

 
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:37 AM

Re: your initial question about extended BF - I have nothing scientific to give you, but I will say that I also extended BF my DS to age 5 (he is also 7 now). Although he clearly had food intolerance issues from very early on (about 3 weeks) and malabsorption also from infancy his scope in Jan of 2011 was considered normal. I would have thought that being symptomatic that long would surely mean a positive scope if celiac disease was actually the issue and so after the negative scope I spent a long time thinking it had to be something else. When I couldn't find any other explanation (and in his case we did have a positive tTG) I took him to a celiac clinic out of town and after they thoroughly reviewed his case they thought it was suspicious enough to eliminate gluten. And it now appears he is getting better. So it seems that most likely he does have celiac disease after all. In my mind I am convinced that the extended BF'ing probably did provide some protection against damage in his GI system and maybe was the reason his scope was negative all those years after he seems to have developed clear symptoms. Who knows. But I think it probably made harder to diagnose.


Thanks for responding--I don't know too many people who have kids with food issues who've breastfed that long. He spit up a lot (projectile vomiting), which could have been due to oversupply. He also had five loose bowel movements a day until at least 18 months (or longer), possibly.

My son's tests were normal, but I guess low IgA would affect the tTG IgA (but the endomysial was also normal). He didn't have the newest test--DGP?

We may try eliminating gluten and seeing what, if anything, that does for him if we once again have no reason for his slowed growth.
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#17 nicolebeth

 
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:41 AM

I would just like to add that I think the protective effects of breastmilk are probably capable of supressing some of the symptoms. My DS was virtually exclusively breastfed until his molars finally came in around 15 months, though he probably had wheat introduced close to 9 months in the form of a cracker or cheerio here or there. Gluten products in small amounts were some of the only foods I could get him to eat early on. Once his molars came in, he started eating a lot more food, and at the same time, I started producing a lot less milk as I had become pregnant, so he was eating a diet containing plenty of wheat foods and other food from 16-18 months. By 18 months, I had very little milk left and that is when his chronic diarrhea first appeared.

His sibling will be born in the next few weeks and as he has never weaned, we'll go back to tandem nursing. I'm hoping that we'll see a renewal in digestive benefits as he starts getting decent amounts of breastmilk, and that this will outweigh the secondary lactose intolerance that he's developed.


Thank you, this is what I was thinking, too, about the protective effects of breastmilk. I've read the article that breastfeeding can delay the onset of celiac disease (or perhaps prevent it), but I wasn't sure if that was still the case after solid food introduction (though, I suppose even with a very young baby, there is still exposure via the milk). Also, I wasn't sure about whether the breastfeeding could affect the results of an endoscopy (by, perhaps, preventing actual damage from occurring).

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and tandem nursing!
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#18 1974girl

 
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

To answer about hypithyroid. It is different in kids. My pediatrician said that people bring in their overweight children all the time and demand their thyroid be tested. She said she knows if they have normal height then it probably isn't that. Growth is a big sign in kids.
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#19 Sesara

 
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:52 AM

Thank you, this is what I was thinking, too, about the protective effects of breastmilk. I've read the article that breastfeeding can delay the onset of celiac disease (or perhaps prevent it), but I wasn't sure if that was still the case after solid food introduction (though, I suppose even with a very young baby, there is still exposure via the milk). Also, I wasn't sure about whether the breastfeeding could affect the results of an endoscopy (by, perhaps, preventing actual damage from occurring).

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and tandem nursing!

Thank you so much. I guess I should add that my DS has no official diagnosis at present, as his intestines appeared "normal" in the endoscopy and only showed elevated lymphocytes, and his antibody tests have come back normal. I do think that the time frame for his damage to occur wasn't long enough for them to see any sort of villous atrophy like they were looking for in part because he only really stopped getting breastmilk altogether about 3 months ago, when my supply switched exclusively to colostrum...right before we started the testing.

We have the same growth curve issues as you seem to, though on a smaller scale. At 6 months, DS was in the 90th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight. At 18 months, he was in the 50th percentile for height and 8th percentile for weight. Now, at almost 2, he is in the 25th percentile for height and the 2nd percentile for weight. I'm sure that his malaborption issues started between 6-9 months, but he also crawled and walked in that time frame, so it's harder to "prove". I desperately want to get him absorbing again so that he can do some catch up growth. The one thing that sustains me is knowing that his head growth has stayed on curve - even with fat malabsorption, his body is directing what fat he does get to where he needs it most. But it is very frustrating. I hope you get some answers soon.
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#20 October3

 
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 03:29 PM

Thank you so much. I guess I should add that my DS has no official diagnosis at present, as his intestines appeared "normal" in the endoscopy and only showed elevated lymphocytes, and his antibody tests have come back normal. I do think that the time frame for his damage to occur wasn't long enough for them to see any sort of villous atrophy like they were looking for in part because he only really stopped getting breastmilk altogether about 3 months ago, when my supply switched exclusively to colostrum...right before we started the testing.

We have the same growth curve issues as you seem to, though on a smaller scale. At 6 months, DS was in the 90th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight. At 18 months, he was in the 50th percentile for height and 8th percentile for weight. Now, at almost 2, he is in the 25th percentile for height and the 2nd percentile for weight. I'm sure that his malaborption issues started between 6-9 months, but he also crawled and walked in that time frame, so it's harder to "prove". I desperately want to get him absorbing again so that he can do some catch up growth. The one thing that sustains me is knowing that his head growth has stayed on curve - even with fat malabsorption, his body is directing what fat he does get to where he needs it most. But it is very frustrating. I hope you get some answers soon.


I believe elevated lymphocytes can be present on scope in breastfed children because they are breastfeeding and not as an indication of anything abnormal, for what its worth. I couldn't confirm that on a quick Google serach but from memory that's what I recall. Not sure how long they stick around after a child is weaned.
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#21 justlisa

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:32 AM

Interesting discussion... I am curious though about the "protective benefits" of breastfeeding in relation to celiac/gluten intolerance.... I was under the impression that gluten would be present via the breastmilk...???
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#22 Mom2J112903

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:33 AM

Interesting discussion... I am curious though about the "protective benefits" of breastfeeding in relation to celiac/gluten intolerance.... I was under the impression that gluten would be present via the breastmilk...???


Unless Mom is gluten free, gluten will be passed via breastmilk you are correct.
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Crystal, Stay-at-home and homeschooling Momma to a one and only little warrior man with numerous GI disorders which have lead to Elecare Jr via g-tube as soul nutrition.

#23 justlisa

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:48 AM

Thanks Mom2... So, my next question is for the moms above... Were you gluten free while breastfeeding?
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#24 nicolebeth

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:41 AM

Thanks Mom2... So, my next question is for the moms above... Were you gluten free while breastfeeding?


Good question. I was not gluten free--there was no reason to think I should be at the time. (There were pockets of time when was I gluten-free as I've suspected that I have some level of gluten intolerance--but it never seemed to stick, though it has for the last three months, not that it's relevant to your question!)

So, I know that my son was exposed to gluten, both through my breastmilk and through what he was eating (though, he didn't eat much besides avocado between six months and a year). What I wondered was whether the properties of breastmilk could cause the GI system to look normal on a scope (even if things like slowed growth and frequent loose stools were apparent). The question of my son nursing never came up with the GI docs since it would never have occurred to them to think a child his age was still nursing.
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#25 StephanieL

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:17 PM

I asked Dr Fassano about this. He said unless there are actually signs of an issue that the benefits of breast feeding outweigh what gluten gets through.
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#26 justlisa

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:12 PM

Nicole... Thanks for the response... I find this particular discussion very interesting...
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#27 nicolebeth

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:42 PM

I asked Dr Fassano about this. He said unless there are actually signs of an issue that the benefits of breast feeding outweigh what gluten gets through.


Definitely. I think that's true for just about everything--there are very few situations (such as chemotherapy, radioactive iodine, and lithium) that are incompatible with breastfeeding. With gluten, the mom can go gluten-free if it's in the family to try to forestall the celiac diagnosis. I'm not sure anyone has looked at whether extended breastfeeding continues to do that for a longer period of time.
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#28 nicolebeth

 
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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:46 PM

Nicole... Thanks for the response... I find this particular discussion very interesting...


You're welcome!
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