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Gluten Allergies in Children

Authored by Katharine Foust in Child and Teen Health
Published on 09-04-2009

Gluten allergies in children can cause some very serious health problems due to the very nature of the allergy. Gluten allergies cause problems with the digestive system and hamper the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. Obviously this is then cause for serious concern, especially in children with impaired immune systems as they need every resource they can get to stay healthy.

Gluten allergies in children seem to be caused by an unspecified genetic trait. There really is limited knowledge about the specifics of gluten allergies in children. The knowledge about it being a genetic trait is only obtained by studies such as the correlation between twins who have gluten allergies.

The symptoms of gluten allergies in children can make it difficult to diagnose the allergies. They range from behavioral difficulties to an inability to gain weight and include a loss of appetite, lack of growth, irritability, skin rash, mouth ulcers, swollen stomach and anemia to name just a few. It’s easy to see why the allergies are so hard to diagnose when some of them mimic other disorders to well. The important thing is that is does get diagnosed so that treatment can begin.

The diagnosis for gluten allergies in children is obtained through a course of tests. The doctor will ask questions about the symptoms and will examine the child’s abdomen. If there is a possibility that the child has gluten allergies, the doctor will order a series of blood tests that will examine the levels of the proteins, vitamin and minerals in the bloodstream. If there is a possibility that gluten allergies in children is the cause of the symptoms, then a biopsy will be ordered in which sample of the small intestine is taken by inserting an endoscope into the child’s mouth and moving it to the small intestine. Children are usually sedated for this procedure.

Once gluten allergies in children are determined to be the problem, the treatment may begin. The only treatment in existence currently is the avoidance of the ingestion of products containing gluten. Gluten is in rye, wheat barley and other grains. Certain foods typically carry gluten and should be avoided. Some of these foods are processed cheeses, breads, noodles, teas and imitation or processed meats. Notice that gluten is found in many processed foods, making the idea of going to an all natural diet seem very appropriate. It should be noted that there is no gluten to be found in fruits and vegetables or fish and red meat.

Gluten allergies in children should be taken very seriously since they can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, thyroid problems and ulcerate colitis. If the allergies are caught early enough the diet can be changed and serious health problems can be avoided. This is one example of why children should eat healthy food and visit their doctor on a regular basis. If a child consumes healthy foods and then suddenly shows symptoms of an allergy after consuming large amounts of gluten, the problem becomes clear and can be dealt with.

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