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gemlechner

Need advice on gluten and childs behavior

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My heart is so broken. We cut gluten out of my child's diet because she was chronically constipated, in doing so we discovered that while not ingesting gluten she went from crazy temper tantrums that I thought were a normal part of age 3 to a happy easy to please kid. I guess out of laziness and both mine and my husbands family thinking we were nuts and just trying to fallow a trend we brought gluten back. I noticed that when she would ingest gluten it would only take about 4 to 5 hours before her tantrums would start...always about nothing. so tonight after she was calm she said mommy I'm sorry I couldn't stop the mad. After hearing that I started to cry, I feel like I failed her and I continue to do so because I almost have to keep convincing myself that gluten is the culprit. And I try to tell my family that it's not like her behavior is just different its night and day. How long after ingesting gluten do you think behavior changes can be seen. I read all the time how some people have reversed or helped their child behavior and even autism by cutting out certain foods. How can something like gluten or any food alter behavior that quickly and drastically. I'm just trying to get a better understanding and I'm open to any advice. Thank you all so much

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Welcome to the forum!

Now that she is back on gluten, why don't you get her tested for celiac disease?  It is a simple blood test.  If positive and you get a diagnosis, it will make it easy to stick to the diet and get family support.  Constipation is a huge symptom for celiac disease.  There are about 300 symptoms, I kid you not!  

Does gluten affect the behavior of someone who has celiac disease or NCGI?  Yes!  It is often the first symptom that my husband displays when he is accidentally glutened.  He gets grumpy.   The same for me and you can toss in some anxiety and brain fog too!  

Research all that you can.  The University of Chicago's celiac website is a great place to start.  Keep her on gluten (8 to 12 weeks) daily prior to any blood tests.  That is critical!  

Never stop advocating for her! 


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You're not crazy.  We cut gluten from my son's diet at age 4 due to the chronic constipation, stomach pain, and reflux.  Imagine my surprise when it curbed his massive separation anxiety.  It took two years, but we finally reached a diagnosis of celiac disease.  Now I can tell he's been glutened by behavior first (he gets that separation anxiety first), then he spends the next few days with gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, and headaches.  

 

You are her mother.  You know her best.  If you are noticing a correlation, trust yourself.  

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Please have her tested for Celiac now that she is currently back on Gluten.  At age 5 my son's behavior went from "normal" (he was a handful, no doubt, but nothing unusual) to super-sensitive-tantrums-at-any-time . . . he was irrational, no amount of redirection or even threats of punishment seemed to matter.  The tantrums were over things like not being able to get his socks on fast enough, or the lego pieces wouldn't fit together. It culminated in a HUGE public tantrum in McDonalds when he didn't get the toy he wanted in his happy meal.  We have other children, so we were "experienced" parents.  I couldn't figure out how we had one kid that just couldn't keep it together.  He did manage to keep it together at school, which further confused us.  After about a month of this, he was suddenly complaining of stomach aches daily.  By the time we got him to the doctor, the stomach aches were gone, but the behavior was still there.  We had basically stopped taking him anywhere because his behavior was so unpredictable.  The whole family sort of tiptoed around this kid so as not to set him off.

At his doctor's appointment, I happened to mention how "challenging" he was (just in conversation . . . no idea that it was a symptom of anything) and she put the pieces together and tested him for Celiac.  The results was "very positive" and as soon as he was able to go gluten free, we saw a huge improvement in just days.  Turns out, this type of behavior is the #1 symptom of Celiac in children.  He had absolutely no other symptoms (other than the stomach ache for about 4 days in a row.)  Very regular bathroom habits, no growth issues, etc.  Just this crazy behavior change.

Its been over 5 years now and I am so thankful we figured it out.  It is important to get the tests so you have a firm diagnosis.  When he was diagnosed, we had everyone in the family tested and I was positive too.  I thought all my issues (headaches, insomnia, brain fog, etc.) were due to just getting old.  All went away when I went gluten gluten free too.

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