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3 Year Old Boy With Severe Constipation - Should He Be Back On Diet?
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I have had my 3 (almost 4) year old son on a gluten free diet since he was 2 1/2 because of some behavioural issues that seemed to occur when he was on gluten. I am celiac and have quite a family history of it. However, because he's getting closer to school age I decided to have his blood work done to see if the diet is actually a necessity. I took him off of the diet for just short of a month before having the tests done. The results came back negative (IgA <5 U/ml; IgG <5 U/ml; IgA <4 U/ml) and the genetic testing came back with mixed results. The strange part is that since being back on gluten he has been extremely constipated. I had to give him medication all last week for the constipation and it has been causing him a great deal of pain, especially recently.

My question: is it more likely that the constipation is just from having something new introduced to his diet and his body is getting adjusted or is it an actual sensitivity to the gluten? At this point he has been back on gluten for 2 months and the constipation (although the worst now) started about a week after going back on everything. His behaviour hasn't changed a great deal, but in the past year he has been exhibiting some signs of ADHD or possibly ASD. I am going to have his iron levels (Iron 16 umol/L ; Ferritin 16 ug/L) looked at more closely as well as that was part of my diagnosis (iron deficiency anemia). I'm just trying to piece everything together and get a sense that diet is affecting him, but I don't want to unnecessarily put him on it if his results are showing negative.

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Many young children with celiac appear to have a problem with constipation. My nephew, who my mother and I (both celiacs) believe has celiac, complains of constipation and tummy aches constantly. His parents don't want to bother having him tested because they like the lifestyle they have, and they know firsthand how difficult it can be to keep a child on a gluten-free diet, especially since he has a younger sister. In your case, II would definitely monitor this situation and perhaps conclude after a while that gluten does not agree with him.

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Did you also take him off and then reintroduce dairy? Because dairy is a common cause of constipation.

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Did you also take him off and then reintroduce dairy? Because dairy is a common cause of constipation.

Thank you for your response! I have never taken him off of dairy, but have just been doing more research that made me wonder whether that is something to try as well.

I guess the main impetus behind everything for my husband and I (aside from the new constipation problems) is his behaviour. He was in preschool/daycare for a brief period of time before I pulled him out because his teachers were concerned about his behaviour, noting what they believed to be prominent signs of autism. It actually came as a shock to us because he's always been a very bright boy, but social as well (in daycare he was completely withdrawn). We have since had him seen by different specialists and everyone has a different theory about what is driving his behaviour (adhd, asd, sensory motor issues). The problem is that it has always felt like everyone is giving a piece of the picture but he doesn't fit completely into any of the categories (as of yet - he's only 3). In addition, his behaviour fluctuates. He used to be a very focused little boy who picked up and learned things at a really rapid pace, and while he still picks up information quickly, that focus is rarely there anymore. He'll go through periods of difficult sleep (moves around a lot, wakes up a lot) which then makes him really restless and overtired during the day (he never allows himself to nap). I just find it weird that his behaviour is not consistent which is making me question diet so much. Along with the constipation at the moment he has also started sucking his hand and sometimes his shirt collar. There are just so many strange things going on...

I'm also curious about whether iron would help as he is very pale and can be so unfocused. I was anaemic for many years and never realised until I was an adult and my behaviour wasn't too dissimilar to his when I was young.

Sorry for going on about it...I'm just finding it all so puzzling at the moment (or maybe it is just the age?).

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