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Help With Daughter Who's Regressing On Diet.

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I am looking for any advice you may be able to provide. My daughter has been gluten-free since April 2004. She had been looking so good, no enlarged tummy, great color, no black circles under her eyes, loads of energy etc. Thursday evening my husband and I took her to swimming lessons and when she stood next to the other kids I almost died. Her tummy is back, not to mention that all of a sudden she is very pale and today she even has black circles re appearing under her eyes. I know that the tummy was gone in August when she last wore this swimsuit and being that this is the 1st time she had put it on I was horrified. Her color has been nice and pink all along it really was only in the last 2 weeks that I noticed that it was not as "healthy." She weighed 31 and a half lbs last December (at 4 yrs old) went on the gluten-free diet and weighs 38 and a half lbs this am.

I am not sure what this means. I had called her GI and we go on Tuesday. Could this be refractory celiac disease? I was told that with refractory you do not improve and then get sick again.

I also was in her classroom yesterday and spoke with the teacher. Her french class has play doh in it. It is the home made variety with reg flour. Can this be absorbed through the skin? The teacher also mentioned that she is more tired and less interested this week.

I make all her own bread, muffins etc. The only couple of things I thought of I called on. One being those listerene pocket pack breath strips. THey couldn't tell me. The other being a pizza sauce and its fine.

Thanks in advance for any in sight you may provide.


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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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I would look hard at the play doh. As far as I know, gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, so she must be getting some of it in her mouth. It could be that the play doh is sticking to surfaces, then getting on her hands after washing, and contaminating her food. I would take away the play doh and see if she improves.


The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you." Numbers 6:24-25

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Don't think it's refractory--first, refractory is very rare, and second, you said that she had been getting much better. With refractory, the symptoms come, stay, and don't get any better even if you're 100% gluten-free.

Play Dough is very likely the culprit. It definitely contains gluten, and she probably touched it and then touched food or put her hands in her mouth or something. Besides, four-year-olds don't really wash their hands as often, so it may have stayed on her hands for awhile or through numerous meals.


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Play Dough would be highly likely to get under finger nails also. Most 4 year olds are into gross things such as nose picking and the finger that has the playdough and whatever else goes into their mouth!! I know gross, but easily explains contamination. There are several recipes out there for gluten-free playdough. Just make your own to be safe and healthy.

-Jessica :rolleyes:


Gluten Free since 12-31-2002!!


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It's so hard with the little one, not knowing exactly what is causing the issue. I know the listerine pocket packs made me feel sick. I never received an answer either, but avoid them now.

Be sure she is not "sharing" food at school. Or having others share her food. Putting their "gluten-covered" hands into her snacks!

Have you checked vitamins, medicines, creams & lotions, chap stick?

Is she licking stickers at school? Sometimes these have gluten in the glue.

Last year I made the mistake of giving my daughter yogurt that I thought was gluten-free... it wasn't. It took a week to figure it out. But she was back on track once we cut it out.

Good luck. Let us know what you find out.


Diagnosed 3/03 (Positive Biopsy/Negative Blood Tests)

Daughter dx 12/03 (Positive biopsy/Positive blood tests);

Two sons (Negative blood tests); One on gluten-free diet (6/04) ... cured his persistent, severe headaches.

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I can relate, but I really agree with everyone here that it is probably that she is still getting gluten somewhere. My daughter has been gluten-free since last March, and just turned 5 in August, so they are close in age and time gluten-free. All they symptoms went away at first, then over the past 6 months or so I think she is getting more sensitive. I finally realized we had to switch to Stainless steel pans (tossed the old Teflon!) And over time we really noticed a difference. She had no problems for over a month, and the other night I noticed a slightly swollen belly, and yesterday she had diarrhea. So here we go again! I would start by cutting out the playdough. I don't let Ashlee use anything on her skin that has gluten, just for that reason that somehow something could end up in her mouth. (Including bath products if you haven't checked that). I don't know how much it helps, but as a "band-aid" kind of fix, I have been upping her amount of Pediasure when I think she is somehow getting gluten. It makes me feel better to know she is getting more gluten free nutrition and that maybe that helps her body heal while I figure out what is wrong! Good luck! And keep us posted!


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I have to agree with everyone here...I think it's the playdoh. Or at least that's a start. Argh. What are they doing with Playdoh in French class?? Weird... Anyway, she's probably getting it even if she isn't using teh playdoh, just from the residue on the desk tops. Does she share drinks with friends? Chew pens or pencils? Use lotion? Eat her lunch where someone else has already eaten, thereby getting their gluten crumbs?

All things to think about that we never gave a second thought during our "pre-Celiac" days. My son is 3 and I know where you are coming from, it's so hard!!!


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