What is Gluten & What Is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats and is often added to the processed and packaged food. Inability to tolerate gluten is known as gluten intolerance.
When Does Gluten Intolerance Start?
In children, gluten intolerance starts when the gluten containing, cereals such as wheat or oat cereals, are introduced in the diet. Most of the children suffering from sensory processing disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to have mild to moderate gluten sensitivity.
What is Severe Gluten Intolerance?
Severe gluten intolerance is known as celiac disease. It is a lifelong condition in which the villi of intestine get damaged because of the abnormal response of the immune system. In celiac disease along with constipation or diarrhea, the stool is extremely foul smelling.
Do Children Suffering From Gluten Intolerance Develop Other Problems?
The children who suffer from gluten intolerance, when eating gluten-rich food, it triggers an autoimmune response, which damages the small intestine. This can result in long term problems like lymphoma, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, and other autoimmune diseases.
What are the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance in Children?
The symptoms of gluten intolerance vary from child to child, which include:
Diarrhea & Constipation. This is amongst the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance in children. The gluten inflames the gut lining and leads to poor nutrient absorption and digestive discomfort in children. If the child suffers from loose stool or constipation frequently, get him/her tested for gluten intolerance.
Pain in Abdomen. Abdominal pain is the main symptom of gluten intolerance. More than 80% of gluten intolerant children experience pain in abdomen after consuming gluten. A child suffering from abdominal pain due to gluten intolerance can display certain actions, such as leaning the abdomen on parent’s arm, lying flat on the abdomen, or pressing the abdomen over the couch or chair arm.
Bloated Abdomen. Bloated refers to a swelled up abdomen because of gas after a meal and is a common symptom of gluten intolerance in children. Abdominal bloating causes a lot of discomfort to the child suffering from gluten intolerance. Bloated abdomen in children can also be a sign of some other condition too.
Weight Loss. Children with gluten sensitivity do not put on weight. Children suffering from gluten intolerance are short in stature, as this condition affects the growth of the child due to lesser absorption of vitamins and other nutrients.
Vitamin Deficiency. A child suffering from gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance has a lot of vitamin deficiency. The associated vitamin deficiencies in children suffering from gluten intolerance are. deficiencies of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, E, K. There are also certain mineral deficiencies associated with gluten intolerance in children, which include calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Iron Deficiency. This is the most common type of nutritional deficiency seen in children who have gluten intolerance. Low blood volume in iron deficiency anemia produces fatigue, tiredness, dizziness and even shortness of breath as symptoms of gluten intolerance in children. A child with iron deficiency anemia would get tired easily, might have pale skin, and also may feel weak.
Mood Swings. Gluten triggers inflammation in the intestine of the people who are sensitive to it. Gluten affects different organs and tissue, all of which has a great impact on the mood of the child. Gluten sensitive child often shows frequent changes in behaviour and mood.
After getting diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance by performing a blood test, stool test, and genetic test, the child is put on a gluten-free diet for some time. Most of the children suffering from gluten intolerance remain undiagnosed, even when suffering from the most common symptoms of this condition. Knowledge about gluten intolerance helps in preventing the complexities and related deficiencies in children.
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