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October3

How Long For Diet

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How long do we need to be gluten free to know if gluten is an issue?

For quick background because I haven't been here in awhile, my 6 yr old has an elevated tTG and chronic recurrent, but mild, anemia. Negative scope. My 8 yr old has frequent tummy aches, gassy and mucousy stools, and chronic inflammation in his esophagus. We're going to start gluten-free Monday for both of them and, as you can imagine if you have children of this age, they are not thrilled about it. We would like to keep the diet for as short a period as possible that will give us clear results. We don't want to have to redo it later. So how long do we go for?

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I've heard that six months is generally an effective length. But I suggest making sure that you really research everything thoroughly before you begin so the switch isn't as hard for them. Get gluten-free snacks, dressings, sauces, ect. Find some easy kid-friendly recipes that are highly rated - maybe have your kids help you cook so they can get involved and begin to see this new way of eating as something fun. Also, pick their favorite foods and find a way to make it gluten-free so they see that they can still have the foods they love.

Best of luck!

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It must vary greatly from person to person. I had to bribe my son to give me one week gluten free when I suspected that was the problem He ate a pizza after one week and became violently ill. He decided really quickly that he never wants to touch gluten again. He slept 23 hours, nausea, fog, depression, asthma and fatigue for a week afte only having been off it one week. I was off it one week also, then got cross contaminated by not knowing about soy sauce being wheat sauce. I got violently ill and had migraine headache. Both of our food challenges were very short and completely accurate. So you can try for two weeks to a month if you want. Or longer if you want. A friend of mine did 2 weeks with her kids and they also reacted immediately on consuming gluten. Just another perspective. Once it is out of your system, you can have really big reactions on reintroducing. My sis took her kids off for 2 weeks. First gluten meal had 2 of the 5 kids vomiting. Good luck with your decision.

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Oh wow, I didn't know you could tell after that short of time. Don't listen to my 6 month suggestion then :P

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We did a trial run for my son with input/supervision from a pediatric GI. He wanted 6 months.

I think 6 months is fair. Some people show immediate results. Some people don't. Unless you actually show positive results in just a few days, how can you tell which category you fit in? Lack of results in two weeks does not necessarily mean that gluten isn't a problem. It takes a while just to learn to navigate the diet successfully.

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Wow! 6 months just seems like such a long time to try a diet that I'm not even sure will help at all. Obviously with my 6 yr old having an elevated tTG that points us more to gluten but with my 8 yr old there is no real reason to suspect gluten above all the other things that could be going on. Is the idea that some people have clear immediate reactions to the gluten itself while other people have kind of silent damage going on and feel bad because of the damage to the GI tract and subsequent poor absorption of nutrients? So if that's the case will the people who don't have obvious immediate reactions to gluten have to be on gluten for longer to notice a decline as well?

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It really does depend on the person and the type of issues they have. Many people with digestive issues see improvement pretty quickly. People with nerve damage/neurological symptoms take longer to recover. But it isn't as easy as that . . . my daughter's symptoms looked like digestive issues (regurgitation of food) however, it took about 10 months for symmptoms to disappear. They improved slowly, it was not an all or nothing kind of thing. The theory was that she had nerve damage in her stomach/intestines causing slow motility but it was just a theory.

You certainly don't have to go for as long as six months, but if you are unfamiliar with the diet, you definitely should give yourself some time to be sure that you are following it precisely and then set a time from that point on. When my son was on the trial, my daughter had already been gluten free for about 5 months so I felt like I knew what I was doing diet-wise (not that we still don't have an occasional blunder). I knew by about month 3 that gluten was not an issue for him but my son's doctor wanted 6 months and I was going to make sure that there would be no questioning of the results. Like you said, I didn't want to have to do this again.

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