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charliesmom

Behavioral Issues From Gluten Exposure?

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We have been having a lot of issues with my 4 year old at school this week. He was diagnosed with celiac and we have been gluten free for a little over 2 months. So far we have assumed stomach pain was his symptom of being "glutened" because a few times he has yelled that his stomach hurt. During our year of fighting for a diagnosis, his only symptom was iron deficiency anemia and sometimes weird or smelly poops.

Last weekend I was worried about gluten exposure at a birthday party. He never yelled that his stomach hurt so I dismissed it. However, now after 4 very challenging days at school I am wondering if perhaps there is a link. Mostly he has been defiant and cranky - resisting transitions, throwing himself on the ground, etc. This is really not like him. But I have also noticed some anxiety symptoms which had gone away the last few months (he has been chewing on his clothes, he used to bite his nails)

Here are my questions:

- what type of behavioral changes do you see in your child from exposure?

- how long does it last?

- could behavioral changes be the only "symptom" of his exposure? I guess he could have other issues and not mention them to me since he is 4 though too....

I am not going to lie - I am hoping this is the result of gluten exposure as opposed to a new challenge in age and personality. However, I should also add that we have noticed a SIGNIFICANT increase in energy since going gluten-free. I didn't know it was possible for him to have this much energy :)

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We recently did a gluten challenge on my six year old. It only lasted three days since my husband couldn't tolerate it any longer. Behavior was one of the first things to go plus a stomach ache. He was more fidgety than usual and couldn't keep his hands/fingers out of his mouth (he is a nail biter too). He was very resistant to any requests and then had a complete melt down at bed time. The moodiness got really bad and we called it quits. The thing is it only took around 12 hrs to see a change, but it will probably take a week or two to get back to normal. Hopefully this too will pass for you.

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Behavior (defient tantrums, meltdowns over the slightest frustration, etc.) is what brought us to the pediatrician in the first place. After he tested positive, I learned he had more symptoms (frequent bloody noses, random joint pain, etc.) that I never really thought were a big deal. My son is 6.

Cara

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Thanks for the info. I am getting more and more convinced this is the cause. I talked to the teacher and she said the only other time he has acted as he did this week was right when we started the diet.

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Behavior is the first, most obvious, and longest-lasting symptom for both of my kids. In fact, my 2 y/o daughter played with Play-Doh at daycare on Wednesday (despite my having told them before NOT to let her touch it), and we'd only been home 30 minutes when I had to call daycare and ask what on earth she got into that day - her behavior was horrific! There's the normal 2 y/o and 4 y/o tantrums, meltdowns, etc, and then there's the "food reaction" behavior - two very separate and distinct behaviors for our kids. Sometimes but not always, GI symptoms will follow. The duration of their reaction behavior depends on the level of their exposure. But even that little Play-Doh incident 2 days ago? Yeah, she's still a hot mess today. :( Hang in there!

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Definitely notice behavior/mood here. It's scary, because he becomes so depressed. When your 9 year old tells you he doesn't want to live any more you start to panic. He's such a happy, go lucky, positive kid that we've thankfully been able to help him through it by pointing out that he has probably been glutened. His depression and anxiety are our first indicator that something has happened. He becomes irrational and very emotional. :(

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100%. I can tell when my daughter becomes glutened even before her physical symptoms start to show. She gets extremely cranky, her voice gets hoarse, she throws incredible tantrums, she becomes extremely fatigued, and nervous. She turns into a grump. It is so difficult to watch her go through with it...

It lasts about a week, slowly getting better as the week goes on. But I'll tell you, it's not fun to deal with. On the upside, when she is completely gluten-free, she is an absolutely different child! Happy, upbeat, easygoing. Everything a normal child should be!

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