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How Will I Know?

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With my kids being newly diagnosed with celiac, I am wondering how I can know if they are being contaminated with gluten. As far as I know, they don't have a lot of symptoms. They do tend to complain of belly aches more than a non celiac kid, and they do end up throwing up if they have had too much junk (before going gluten free), but other than that, no one would even guess they had this disease. We've only been gluten-free for about a month, and I've not noticed any change in their health. Is it likely that they are not extremely sensitive? I know that even though they may have no outward symptoms, there could still be damaging internal effects if they have gluten. I guess I'm just wondering how I can know that we are doing a good enough job being gluten-free?

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The longer you stay away from gluten, they worst the reaction will be if you accidentally consume it.  At least that's what has happened to be and I was symptom free prior to my diagnosis.  I think you'll know.  

 

Then in six months to a year (or whenever your doctor orders it), you get a celiac blood panel done to see if the figures have lowered.  That will tell you if you're complying with the diet.  As time goes on, you may notice symptoms that aren't gluten related but are an intolerance (e.g. milk).   You have one child with asthma, right?  I'd suspect a milk allergy or intolerance with that child.  Again, that's just based on my family experience.

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First be diligent, as I know you will, to check all labels.  I found months after going gluten free that I had missed reading some bottles that  I believed to be one ingredient.  Many had more than one ingredient.  Since your whole household went gluten free, you will not have to worry about cross contamination.  That is great for them!

 

One of the ways to check is to know a nutrient deficiency.  Since you know one child is low in iron, you may want to keep tabs on that.  As the body heals he should absorb the iron better.  My Functional Medicine Nurse told me that low iron may signify the first noticed symptom of celiac disease. I am not saying that is the only possible cause for low iron, so that keeping tabs on it would be a good thing.  I have had a complete nutrient work up and know of many nutrient levels that have recovered since last November.  I am sure and MD could run tests for other nutrients commonly to be deficient in people with celiac  if you would want that. 

 

My family picks up on my glutening episodes now.  My face turns bright red, so they can notice that. Even a stranger noticed recently.  They thought I was sunburn!   I become irritable.  You may notice clues like those or others. Over time I swell and/or have a puffy face and maybe you can notice from that.  Oh, and a bloated abdomen may occur that is noticeable.  Whatever your signs will be, I have confidence that you will in time be able to notice them.

 

Best wishes to you and yours.

 

D

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I don't have much to add about how to know that you are not eating gluten, but I can comment on symptoms the longer you are gluten-free.

 

I was diagnosed last February.  Around summer time (maybe 5 or 6 months gluten free), I was going through similar concerns that you are having now - have I really been that good about gluten, or am I just not very sensitive?  Will I react if I accidentally eat some gluten?  I did not have any known symptoms before diagnosis (in retrospect, my ability to belch like a sailor at any time was some severe bloating that has gone away - unless I am glutened)

 

The first time I had some accidental gluten, the symptoms came on fast.  I was bloated with tummy troubles for a couple of days. 

 

The second time was probably the biggest glutening I have had since going gluten-free.  About 3 hours after eating, my tummy was uncomfortable. Somewhere in the mix, the bloating started and lasted for 4 days.  It took another 3 days before my digestion returned to normal.  (During the dinner that I got the gluten, I was talking to my boyfriend about the whole issue of 'how will i know?' and remember thinking that part of me wanted to eat one piece of gluteny pasta and see how I reacted.  I was smart enough to only 'think' about doing this, and not act on it.  After the reaction that I had, I have never thought about trying something 'just to see' again...)

 

Since that time, I have had some small glutenings that have bothered me for a day (occasionally two).  For me, the tell-tale symptom is bloating.  

 

In time, you will figure things out.  I believe that most folks here do have some 'tell-tale' symptoms that helps them to identify gluten (or some other intolerance) versus the flu or something else.  Unfortuantely, everyone's symptoms are different, so there is a learning curve.

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