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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

Can Testing Wait?

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I have a 3 year old son who has had severe GI issues, iron deficiency anemia, missing tooth enamel, and unexplained outbursts since he was 6 months old and started solid food.  I could not get my pediatrician to understand how bad it was.  I even took video of my son screaming in pain as he went to the bathroom.  And this was a daily thing!  In my heart I knew it had to do with food.  So the first thing I did was eliminate dairy.  It helped for a little while, but then things went back to the same as before.  Still no help from pediatrican.  He even refused to give me a referrral to a GI doc!  (We are switching pediatricians, btw).  Anyway, I was desperate to help my son, so we put him on a strict gluten free diet about 4 months ago.  The change in him is amazing!  No more GI issues.  No more anemia.  No more tantrums.  He is more outgoing and happy.  He could finally potty train.  And we were able to get him off the laxatives the doctor had prescribed for the past 2 1/2 years.  Here is my dilemma: I have backed myself into a corner when it comes to testing!  I know he has to be eating gluten in order to get an accurate diagnosis.  I am reluctant to give him gluten because when he has had it by accident in the past few months, he gets SO sick.  I don't think I could do that to him.  So, can the testing wait until he is older and can handle a gluten challenge better?  Should I bite the bullet and do it now?  I also suspect my 11 month old daughter has similar issues as my son. She does not eat gluten either because it makes her very sick and constipated. Any opinions and experience would be great!  Thank you!

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The longer he has been off, there is possibility that the symptoms will worsen once it has been reintroduced.

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Testing in young kids can be very hit and miss. My 4 yr old was tested at age 2 she had the full panel everything was negative apart from the genetic test. My 2 yr old was tested a few months ago, only thing that showed up was aneamia that was slow to respond to iron supplements. Thankfully our ped said given her sisters reactions, and genetics, and the factbshevwas anemic ti just assume celiac.

Some schools and colleges will not accommodate needs without an official diagnosis. But at this age the tests are so unreliable, and there s also the chance it is non celiac gluten intolerance.

I hate not knowing for sure with both kids, especially has there are so many other autoimmune diseases in the family, but on the other hand I don't want to make them sick and the tests be negative.

Our allergist said to try a gluten challenge at age 5 I really don't know what to do. It's a hard decision.

Our 2 yr old never seemed to be in pain, now after one tiny slip up she screamed for 6 hrs solid. My 4 yr old suffers with pain constipation skin and behavior issues after any gluten.

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Would your doctor give a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI)? That way your kids will be covered if they need accommodations but you do not have to put them through weeks of gluten ingestion.

I'm up in Canada where I think it must be easier to get care givers to accept health issues, but I ALWAYS send food with my kids when they are out of the house and away from me so it is a non issue (mostly). You can train your kids never to accept food from people unless you have okay'ed it first; my kids accept that rule better when they know that I will have alternate treats with me or at home for them to have if there are foods they can not eat.

Best wishes and welcome to the board.

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You've come to the right place!


As stanleymonkey said, some schools and colleges won't make institutional level exceptions without an official diagnosis (such as allowing for different meal plans in college or allowing freshmen to live in an apartment rather than regular freshman housing). However, I haven't had trouble getting fed when I went directly to the manager of my dining hall even though I don't have a full diagnosis yet. But it all depends on your situation. If you're planning on staying in the same area, you could call the elementary school your son will be attending and ask about their specific policy for allergy/intolerance accommodation in relation to medical records. It also affects later insurance coverage. For example, if I had tried to set up an appointment with a dietitian on my own without getting a referral after my blood tests came back a strong positive, I would have had no help from my insurance company. But since I was referred after my blood tests and the insurance company was notified about this change in my medical history, I get full coverage for nutritionists and dietitians. 


If you do decide to get your son and daughter tested for celiacs, it would be better to do so before they enter school if there are a lot of behavioral issues associated with consuming gluten. Also as shadowicewolf said, the longer people are off gluten the more likely that reintroduction will lead to exacerbated symptoms. For blood tests, the general recommendation is a 12 week gluten challenge and for a biopsy it's around 2 weeks. I'm not sure if you could convince your GI to do an endoscopy without blood testing. But call, talk to them, explain. Every doctor's office is different. 


One last thing, if you do think it is celiac's, then you and your partner/the children's other biological parent could do a gluten challenge and get tested for celiac's. There is a high prevalence within families so if one of you had a positive result then you could be a little more certain that having your kids do a gluten challenge would be worth it. You could also get them genetically tested because it is genetically linked, but it could still be non-celiac's gluten intolerance as well. 


Good luck and I hope you get the answers you need without too many issues! We're always here to help if you need anything. 

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Wow, thank you all so much!  You are all very helpful!  I actually called today and set up an appointment with a new pedicatrician.  I am hoping I can get the referrals I need from a different doctor.  I would love to find an understanding GI who can give me some options and ideas on what the best steps to take would be.  Good idea on my husband and I getting tested.  We all went gluten free with my son, and I have noticed dramatic differences in my health and moods.  It makes me wonder... If you have any other ideas or information for me, I would love it.  Thank you again!  It is so refreshing to "talk" to people who take my concerns seriously.

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