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How To Tell If Toddler Has Celiac

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My 18 month old son has had diarrhea for about a month, with maybe one regular BM a week.

He's always had some loose stools which the pediatrician told us was probably normal up until now. Now she's bringing up celiac (which is terrifying me). Does it sound like celiac to you parents out there:

Things that support:

- Semi to watery stools -95% of time

- Dry skin on back of calves (very minimal and no where else)

- More tired lately, lays on ground to play

Things that seem not to support:

- No abdominal pain (that we can tell for an 18 month old)

- Very interested in eating (hard to get him not to eat)

- 90th percentile in both height and weight

- "Chuggs down" his milk or juice as soon as you give it to him (??? good or bad??)

We've been on a gluten free diet, for about 4 days now with only a slight change in BMs (first constipated, then loose again, now slightly more solid). How long should it take to see an effect? And must my kitchen be completely crumb free?

What tests should we ask for? My doctor is very into the "wait and see" approach but I need to know and start to change things. The worrying is killing me.

Sorry for the rambling, any advice is appreciated.

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Your doctor may be reluctant to do blood tests because of the high rate of false negatives in children his age. I would try to get her to do a complete panel though. It won't hurt. The change that you have seen in the 4 days he has been on the diet could be significant. I would stick with it and it might be a good idea to limit his dairy intake until he has healed and is having normal BMs. Give him whole unprocessed foods as much as you can to try and keep CC or accidental glutening to a minimum. You do need to be cautious about crumbs and make sure he has his own condiments and nut butters etc.

It can be hard at first to ferret out hidden sources of gluten but your in a great place to learn.

I hope your little guy is feeling better soon.

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My 18 month old son has had diarrhea for about a month, with maybe one regular BM a week.

He's always had some loose stools which the pediatrician told us was probably normal up until now. Now she's bringing up celiac (which is terrifying me). Does it sound like celiac to you parents out there:

Things that support:

- Semi to watery stools -95% of time

- Dry skin on back of calves (very minimal and no where else)

- More tired lately, lays on ground to play

Things that seem not to support:

- No abdominal pain (that we can tell for an 18 month old)

- Very interested in eating (hard to get him not to eat)

- 90th percentile in both height and weight

- "Chuggs down" his milk or juice as soon as you give it to him (??? good or bad??)

We've been on a gluten free diet, for about 4 days now with only a slight change in BMs (first constipated, then loose again, now slightly more solid). How long should it take to see an effect? And must my kitchen be completely crumb free?

What tests should we ask for? My doctor is very into the "wait and see" approach but I need to know and start to change things. The worrying is killing me.

Sorry for the rambling, any advice is appreciated.

The first child I met with an "official" (biopsy-proven) diagnosis of Celiac was in the 98th percentile for weight and height. So I wouldn't put too much stock in the growth chart right now.

Crankiness can be another symptom. With my daughter, she was good as gold in the morning, but come late afternoon/early evening, it seemed that it took little to set her off crying. This all changed once on a gluten-free diet.

Dry skin can be a sign of Celiac or a food allergy....probably because it can involve malabsorption issues.

I'd ask for a CAPRAST test to rule out allergies (even mild) to dairy and eggs. If you want a confirmation of Celiac, then you need to stop playing around with the gluten-free diet until the tests are complete. Being gluten-free will jeopardize your chances of getting an accurate test result. So if you're in doubt....get the full Celiac panel run prior to going on the diet. I don't say this to be negative or condescending. It's just that I am fully aware of pediatricians who put children on a gluten-free diet several months before then testing for celiac disease. It's an exercise in futility and extremely frustrating if you're the parent being led down this road. The pediatric gastroenterologist will only put your child back on a gluten diet (possibly for several more months) and it prolongs the diagnostic process significantly. And then there's always some random doctor who will suggest that two weeks on a gluten diet will be enough to initiate damage detectable by tests (NOT!).

Please, if you're the type of parent who NEEDS bonified documentation of Celiac, push for the testing now and stay on a regular diet. If you can handle the doubt medical professionals will throw at you in the future (as you won't have an official diagnosis) and you are confident in the results you physically observe....then you may want to stick with the diet and go with either gene testing or Enterolab.

Having said that, the test results (blood and even biopsy) tend to be highly inaccurate in children anyways. So I'd highly recommend going on the diet AFTER the tests. I personally feel that response to the diet is the best indicator of whether or not there is a problem. At least as far as symptomatic cases go. There also are people who are completely asymptomatic and therefore blood panels and biopsies are then a more accurate indicator.

The method of testing is a personal choice. Just be sure that you don't let any doctor mislead you if you are seeking definitive answers.

HTH

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Totally agree with Shayesmom concerning testing, staying on gluten diet. Both my boys (2 and 4) didn't express abdominal pain. One started eating more - more gluten foods that is. He was always eating. The other was slowly not eating as much but he's 2 so I really didn't think too much of it. My 4 year old is tall for his age. Even his GI doc mentioned that looking at him he wouldn't have thought celiac because of his persistent growing. :) But with that said, I had noticed him slowing down prior to diagnosis, especially with weight. It took almost a year to gain one pound. His younger brother was also off the charts until about 18 months. At 24 months he'd fallen down the charts and I'm sure if he hadn't been diagnosed, come his 3 year check-up he'd have fallen further as he's still in the same clothes from a year ago. But just a month on the gluten-free diet and he's already growing. Oh, by the way, the only reason my son's pediatrician brought up celiac was because I mentioned he kept pooping all the time. He was definitely lagging in energy too. Boy, is he bouncing around now! (gluten-free for 2 months)

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I just wanted to share a bit of my family's experience.

My oldest daughter was a miserable baby (now I know why), wasn't colic, always reacted more if I ate more of something.

So, when my husband decided to go gluten-free, well try it any way, I got researching.

My husband actually went into withdrawal on the second week of gluten-free, his symptoms all came back in more than full force - heart skipping, gastro distress. We didn't know what to do - he was even thinking of eating gluten again! However, we toughed out that week and things calmed down.

As for my daughter, during my research, I had a serious eye-opener. Her symptoms were classic celiac, but mild, lots of sore tummies and digestive issues, headaches and poor sugar tolerance. She is much improved now, too bad it took 13 years!

So definitely keep up with the gluten free - I know it's tough, but 2 months is probably a minimum time to continue to wait for changes.

BTW, I saw lots of good advice in this discussion - as per getting tested etc.

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I just wanted to share a bit of my family's experience.

My oldest daughter was a miserable baby (now I know why), wasn't colic, always reacted more if I ate more of something.

So, when my husband decided to go gluten-free, well try it any way, I got researching.

My husband actually went into withdrawal on the second week of gluten-free, his symptoms all came back in more than full force - heart skipping, gastro distress. We didn't know what to do - he was even thinking of eating gluten again! However, we toughed out that week and things calmed down.

As for my daughter, during my research, I had a serious eye-opener. Her symptoms were classic celiac, but mild, lots of sore tummies and digestive issues, headaches and poor sugar tolerance. She is much improved now, too bad it took 13 years!

So definitely keep up with the gluten free - I know it's tough, but 2 months is probably a minimum time to continue to wait for changes.

BTW, I saw lots of good advice in this discussion - as per getting tested etc.

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Thanks for all the advice. We're going to stick to the diet for another week or so, if we don't get any normal looking poops - we'll go back to gluten for a week and get the allergy and celiac blood tests to start.

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When my youngest grandson started projectile vomiting his formula, then had 14 diarrhea diapers in one night (his female pediatrician said he just had a healthy system)it dawned on me that perhaps he had what I had--gluten sensitivity. I ordered the full spectrum test from Enterolab online, and within a short period of time it was confirmed that he was intolerant of all grains and all milk & dairy. The test utilizes a stool sample, returned through the mail, with results and even the ordering of the tests done via email. He was a newborn when this was taking place, but later, when he would get gluten or dairy he would react with a severe diaper rash, serious crankiness and crying, and apparent abdominal distress. He, too, was in the 90th percentile of growth. I remember reading that children with Celiac often have extraordinarily long, dark eyelashes, and that is also true of my grandson. I wish you the best in finding out what is going on. Welda

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My 18 month old son has had diarrhea for about a month, with maybe one regular BM a week.

He's always had some loose stools which the pediatrician told us was probably normal up until now. Now she's bringing up celiac (which is terrifying me). Does it sound like celiac to you parents out there:

Things that support:

- Semi to watery stools -95% of time

- Dry skin on back of calves (very minimal and no where else)

- More tired lately, lays on ground to play

Things that seem not to support:

- No abdominal pain (that we can tell for an 18 month old)

- Very interested in eating (hard to get him not to eat)

- 90th percentile in both height and weight

- "Chuggs down" his milk or juice as soon as you give it to him (??? good or bad??)

We've been on a gluten free diet, for about 4 days now with only a slight change in BMs (first constipated, then loose again, now slightly more solid). How long should it take to see an effect? And must my kitchen be completely crumb free?

What tests should we ask for? My doctor is very into the "wait and see" approach but I need to know and start to change things. The worrying is killing me.

Sorry for the rambling, any advice is appreciated.

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I second the suggestion to eliminate dairy. My daughter has diarrhea in every diaper for the first year of her life, until finally I eliminated dairy. Her intestinal issues improved immediately and would come back even if she had one goldfish cracker. So I had to read labels and not give her anything that had casein or whey in the ingredients. (She, too, chugged her milk. She loved it. But the change to soy wasn't too bad.) We have done several dairy challenges over the past several years. At this point it looks like she can have dairy in the occasional baked good; but, if she has cheese or ice cream (she hasn't had straight milk) the loose stools return immediately, and she sometimes has bowel incontinence from it, too. Our current pediatrician has told me that milk allergy and/or lactose intolerance are the most common cause of intestinal issues in children.

Good luck,

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