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Celiac Disease And Growth Hormone Deficiency
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I'm sure many of you might know my story, but thought I would post it again just in case. About a year ago my 8.5 year old son was referred to a pediactric endocrinologist because of short stature. Since about age 4 he has not not followed his growth curve and eventually fell off of the charts. His only symptom was short stature, but the endocrinologist ran numerous blood tests to determine if he had an underlying cause and after blood work and a biopsy he was dx with celiac by a gastroenterologist in August. He has been on a gluten free diet since but because his only symptom is short stature we cannot be sure how well he is responding to the diet as we don't have a follow-up with the gastroenterologit until February. In the mean time he has been followed by his endocrinologist. He had a visit last month in which he only grew 1/2" over a three month time period so the endocrinologist recommended that we conduct a stimulation test to determine if he is making growth hormone. My husband and I were on the fence about it, not sure if we were being impatient about his growth since he had only been gluten-free for three months at the time, but we decided to rule it out! The test was performed about three weeks ago and lo' and behold, he is not making enough growth hormone. The endocrinologist classified his deficiency as moderate and told us that without growth hormone shots he would never reach his potential height and could suffer other health implications despite being on a gluten-free diet. He still has to undergo testing for other hormone levels to determine if we have to add anything more as well as an MRI to rule out a pituitary tumor, but once that is done (and hopefully all negative) the endo wants him to start the growth hormone shots. Have any of you had experience with this? Did you child respond to the shots, were there side effects? Did they reach their potential height? Does anyone know if there is a link between celiac and growth hormone deficiency? I asked the endo and he said no, but I'm finding it hard to believe one kid could have so many issues without a unified link (he also has asthma, allergies, and ADD)! I am beside myself because now we have another condition to address, but also thankful that we have identified these issues!

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Our daughter, age 9, has been on growth hormone treatment for a year and a half. She had the stimulation test too and her levels (peak) were at 3.8 when normal was 10. She was too underweight to start growth hormone treatment which set us on the GI roller coaster. Our daughter's celiac tests (incomplete blood panel several years ago and biopsy) were negative but we put her on a gluten-free diet in March of this year. She has grown 4-5 inches on the treatment and with the gluten-free diet.

There is a link between growth hormone defeincy and celiac disease. I will try to find the link for you.

We have adjusted to the shots and it is part of the night time routine. We got our daughter a buzzy bee (uses vibration and cold pack) on the injection site and she says they don't really hurt that bad. Given her fear of needles, I was really worried about starting the shots but she is my hero!

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Here is the link for the buzzy. She always had such a fear of needles that the thought of daily injections just about did us both in. She says this really helps her.

http://www.buzzy4shots.com/

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Our daughter, age 9, has been on growth hormone treatment for a year and a half. She had the stimulation test too and her levels (peak) were at 3.8 when normal was 10. She was too underweight to start growth hormone treatment which set us on the GI roller coaster. Our daughter's celiac tests (incomplete blood panel several years ago and biopsy) were negative but we put her on a gluten-free diet in March of this year. She has grown 4-5 inches on the treatment and with the gluten-free diet.

There is a link between growth hormone defeincy and celiac disease. I will try to find the link for you.

We have adjusted to the shots and it is part of the night time routine. We got our daughter a buzzy bee (uses vibration and cold pack) on the injection site and she says they don't really hurt that bad. Given her fear of needles, I was really worried about starting the shots but she is my hero!

Thank you so much for the information. My husband and I are feeling overwhelmed by all of this. We had just gotten used to the idea of celiac, so now we have to adjust to the new diagnosis. I am thankful that we know what is going on, but a little stressed by all of it as well. I will definitely be ordering the buzzy because he absolutely hates shots and works himself into a tizzy just thinking about it! Thanks again!

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I completely understand. When the nurse showed up at our house for the training, my daughter just lost it and fell to the floor crying. I felt so bad for her. I would not have believed a year and a half ago that the daily shot would not be a big deal but it really isn't. She's my hero :)

Good luck!!!

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Thank you for this thread. Since taking our son gluten-free in October, he hasn't grown (well, he's still under the 5th percentile for height and weight, growing at the bare minimum to maintain that). His older sibling at least has never shown these issues. Our son is starting to get upset about this. He feels better gluten-free, and I don't think will stray, but it's starting to get to him to be the smallest (not just the smallest in 2nd, but smaller than most of the 1st graders as well). I will read over that link re: the celiac connection. Again, thanks!

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    • Mnoosh,    Can you give us a link to the article you read about the increased risk after being diagnosed and maintaining a strict gluten-free diet??       IMO,   You are over reacting to a misprint or most likely a misread article.
    • Yes!  With dairy, celiacs can often have a temorary lactose intolerance due to damaged intestinal villi (where the enzymes normally are released to digest lactose).  Of course you could be naturally lactose intolerant based on race or age.  It is best to stick to a whole foods diet while you are healing.  Really, is ice cream or potato chips going to provide you with nutritional value?  Stick with naturally gluten free foods like meat, fish, fats,  veggies (even those with carbs like sweet potatoes or winter squash) and fruit.  Avoid that processed junk as you may react to the additives right now.  Later, you can add back in dairy (test) and other foods you miss and crave.   Good luck!  
    • Take a deep breath and calm down!    The incidence of cancer with Celiac Disease is rare.......it can happen but the vast majority of people never have that experience.  You may have somewhat enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation from undiagnosed Celiac but that will all calm down and go away once you get going on the diet.  Believe me, there are many of us that have things happen during the diagnosis and early recovery period and everything turned out just fine.  There is an elevated risk for some cancers with Celiac but that risk goes back to that of the general population after a couple of years on the gluten-free diet. I cannot remember the exact time frame but it is somewhere between 2-4 years, I think.  So many of us went years without a diagnosis and when it was all figured out, we have gone on to be healthy with little complications.  Really...do  not worry about this.  Concentrate on learning all the ins and outs of this disease and how to live gluten free happily.  We are here to help you and guess what? The diet is not as bad as some make it out to be. Many things can be made gluten free and are every bit as good as their gluten counterparts. The diet may not be convenient but it is not hard. I would not lie to you!   
    • Well....one common symptom that most celiacs have when they are diagnosed (or undiagnosed) is anxiety.  So, there is a risk of cancers, but science has demonstrated that that risk goes down on a gluten free diet (if you have celiac disease).  In goes down to the same risk as those without celiac disease.   I kind of was a basket case.  I drive my family a bit crazy because I was anxious.  I felt a bit stupid too.  I guess I had a little brain fog going on too.  All that resolved after I healed. Welcome to the fourum.  Read our Newbie 101 thread under "Coping" (pinned at the top of the page) and learn about hidden sources of gluten and cross contamination.  I think most of us do not worry about cancer. We mourn the freedom to eat anything anywhere!   I did not have swollen lymph nodes, but I am sure others have and they did not have cancer.  Hopefully, they will chime in and set your mind at ease.  If not, you can search for "lymph nodes" at the top of the page (little magnifying glass).  There are lots of members with the same issue!  
    • I was recently diagnosed as having celiac and to be honest the part I'm having the most trouble with isn't the change in food or lifestyle. I'm really upset about what I've read about the risk of cancer increasing with celiac disease. I think this is playing into my fears because I currently have lymph nodes all over my body-my Doctor says they are not considered swollen or concerning, but I don't usually feel nodes. The lymph nodes and horrible diarrhea for the last 3 weeks were what got me into the the doctor for lab work. My blood work came great so I'm wondering if anyone else experienced lymph nodes reacting when they found out they were celiac? Also how do you deal with anxiety surrounding the increased risk of cancer? Thanks!
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