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October3

An "is This A Symptom" Question

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My 7 yr old who is currently still in the diagnosis stage has no obvious daily symptoms. For the most part he is a healthy looking, energetic, happy kid who is growing and developing well. Over the past year though he has developed the tendency to complain of stomach aches it seems whenever he is under stress - physical or emotional. For example, today he was supposed to play in his last football game of the year. He loves football and was looking forward to it. But it is 40 degrees outside and raining - miserable conditions. He made it through warm ups but by 5 minutes into the game he was in tears, saying his stomach hurt terribly and he felt like he was going to throw up. We ended up having to leave the game and he was completely irrational the whole way home - bumps in the road, anybody talking, the sound of his brother's game all making his stomach hurt worse.

My husband thinks he uses a stomach ache as an excuse to get out of unpleasant situations, but the more time goes on I think he actually gets terrible stomach aches pretty much any time his body or mind are stressed. I'm curious if this is gluten related? Anybody have similar symptoms that have gone away with elimination of gluten? He's been on gluten since June this time, for what that's worth. I think the complaints of stomach aches have really ramped up since we started back on gluten - I don't remember this from before we eliminated it last spring.

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How was he when you eliminated the gluten? How long was he gluten free for?

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How was he when you eliminated the gluten? How long was he gluten free for?

From my memory, it seems like he would occassionally get stomach aches before we eliminated gluten, but so rarely that I didn't consider it a likely symptom. So when we eliminated gluten for 2 months (I realize maybe that wasn't long enough to reach a full baseline, but I was thinking it should be long enough to see if he felt any better off gluten) we didn't notice that he had fewer stomach aches cuz he really wasn't having them to begin with. We didn't see any other changes in him during that time. But since he's been back on gluten the stomach aches have started to be much more frequent. At first we thought we were talking him into having them because we were suspicious of gluten and would ask him about symptoms, or they were stress related from being worried about the celiac possibility. But now I think it goes beyond that.

The reason we suspect gluten at all is because he has had recurrent anemia but it has been very mild and easy to fix with a multivitamin + iron or a bit of supplemental iron. The blood test he had after reintroducing gluten, though, showed his anemia was worse than ever despite being on a multi vitamin during that time. So it seems that has gotten worse too. :(

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There is a condition where after eating gluten, the reaction/symptoms get worse upon exercise.

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It could be Gastritis/ inflammation/too much stomach acid/too little stomach acid, which can all be cause by celiac. My son had very bad tummy pains from Gastritis - it took a year of PPIs and a gluten-free diet to resolve. He has been medication free for about 2 weeks - so far so good.

Stress can cause you to produce more stomach acid which in turn can cause tummy pains- I'd be talking to his GI about it.

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Unexplained stomach pains + anemia

Are there any other medical conditions(even some you mightn't of thought of or been diagnosed)? Weight, height, growth/development, ADHD, teeth, other known or suspected allergies, blood noses, skin issues .. anything?

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It could be Gastritis/ inflammation/too much stomach acid/too little stomach acid, which can all be cause by celiac. My son had very bad tummy pains from Gastritis - it took a year of PPIs and a gluten-free diet to resolve. He has been medication free for about 2 weeks - so far so good.

Stress can cause you to produce more stomach acid which in turn can cause tummy pains- I'd be talking to his GI about it.

Reading this reminded me that his scope did show some mild inflammation in the stomach. That was the only finding and the GI didn't even mention it but I saw it on the report.

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It could be Gastritis/ inflammation/too much stomach acid/too little stomach acid, which can all be cause by celiac. My son had very bad tummy pains from Gastritis - it took a year of PPIs and a gluten-free diet to resolve. He has been medication free for about 2 weeks - so far so good.

Stress can cause you to produce more stomach acid which in turn can cause tummy pains- I'd be talking to his GI about it.

I responded but it didn't show up so I'll post again - if it shows up later please excuse the repetition...

Until you posted this I had forgotten that his scope (in January) did show a mild inflammation in the stomach. Apparently the GI wasn't concerned because he didn't even mention it to me but I saw it on the report. I wonder if he has an ulcer growing?

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Unexplained stomach pains + anemia

Are there any other medical conditions(even some you mightn't of thought of or been diagnosed)? Weight, height, growth/development, ADHD, teeth, other known or suspected allergies, blood noses, skin issues .. anything?

Weight and height are good. He is an active child, but it doesn't seem to get him in trouble or affect his social skills or schooling like you might see with true ADHD. He does have some trouble settling down at night though. No other allergies that we know of but he did seem to have an intolerance to dairy and probably something else while breastfeeding (had chronic diarrhea with some blood in it as a baby), no more bloody noses that the rest of the family has from dry air, no skin issues. He has damaged enamel on his baby teeth that appeared about the same time as his first episode of anemia (around age 1). So, in short, a few things suspicious but nothing major. That was one of the reasons we did a gluten-free trial - to see if something would show up in his behavior that we hadn't realized was a symptom. But nothing did.

The main reason we still suspect celiac despite a negative scope and no obvious gluten related symptoms is his moderately elevated TTG. The GI we're working with doesn't want to call it celiac "yet" and recommended against going gluten-free right now, but hasn't been able to figure out anything else. So for now we're following his plan which is to recheck blood levels in a few more weeks and if they aren't where he thinks they should be he's referring us to hemotology. We went to hemotology when my son was 18 months and they didn't find any explaination for the anemia, but at this point our thought is we'll go back again and if that doesn't come up with anything and the GI still doesn't want to call it celiac then we'll go to see Dr. Guandalini in Chicago and see what he thinks. So I figure at the latest we'll hopefully have a diagnosis by late January. I don't want to have him go gluten-free before we're done with all that in case it affects further testing.

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Stress really can cause tummy trouble. I have that happen to me. However, I used to actually have to run to the restroom in public. Gluten-free that has gone away. (I should say, I don't know that I have celiac - I have some genetic risk and have just started a gluten challenge after a year gluten-free. We're 99.9% sure our son has celiac disease.)

With my son, he did get stomach aches and anxiety at night, which we put down to not wanting to go to bed. He also would get joint and bone pain whenever he had to walk any distance. He'd also get it out of the blue. He was always the whiny kid on a hike. The doctors said nothing was wrong with him so we told him to suck it up (more nicely, but you get the idea).

Guess what? The poor kid was actually suffering, for real. He is a different kid since we got his diet figured out in a number of ways. He has become a lot more robust, and almost never gets the anxiety, stomach aches, or bone and joint pain any more. Early on we made lots of cross-contamination mistakes. Getting our house truly gluten-free and very carefully sourcing our food, and only eating food from home made a huge difference.

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I had stress-triggered stomachaches all my life until I went gluten-free. They have vanished entirely.

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October3,

You should hook up with another new member. He is 27 now but it sounds like you two could swap notes.

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