Celiac Disease In Children

This blog is a comprehensive guide to understanding celiac disease in children. We explore the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for this autoimmune disorder, as well as the importance of a gluten-free diet in managing the disease. Parents and caregivers can use this resource to learn how to support children with celiac disease and promote their overall health.

Did you know that first-degree relatives (parent, sibling, kid) have a one-in-ten probability of having celiac disease?

Celiac disease affects one in every 100 persons, making it a common disease among children. As a new mother, you're likely always on the lookout for signs that your baby is not feeling well. One condition that you may not be familiar with is celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system.

In this blog, we'll discuss everything you need to know about celiac disease in babies.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a condition in which the immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This reaction can damage the lining of the small intestine, making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients.

**Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, is toxic to those with celiac disease. **Many people believe that gluten is only present in food products. No, the protein is also used in various products, from medications to vitamins to cosmetics like lotions, shampoos, and lip gloss.

Risk Factor

Celiac disease can be discovered in kids with no noticeable symptoms in two ways. The first is having a concurrent medical condition that requires celiac disease testing-

  • A family member with celiac disease

  • An IgA deficiency

  • Children and adolescents with arthritis

  • Down syndrome - hereditary condition (Trisomy 21)

  • Thyroid issues

  • Turner's syndrome

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Williams syndrome


  • Autoimmune disease due to genetics

  • Gluten sensitivity, which damages the small intestine

Symptoms of Celiac disease in children

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can last anything between minutes to hours after consuming gluten.

According to their age, children with Celiac disease have varying effects.

Infants and toddlers

As children get older, their symptoms become more evident, most occurring in the digestive tract.

Many symptoms, although not all, have been associated with this condition, such as-

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea with foul-smelling feces

  • Inadequate growth

  • Irritation

  • Puking

  • Undernourishment

School-aged children

School-aged children are less likely to vomit than infants and toddlers. Many symptoms, although not all, have been associated with this condition.

  • Stomach pains or abdominal pain

  • Abdominal bloating or pain

  • Constipation

  • Digestion problems

  • Weight gain or loss problems

Children aged 13 and up

"Extraintestinal" or "atypical" symptoms refer to symptoms or warning signs unrelated to the digestive tract in older children and teenagers.

Testing for celiac disease is often recommended in the presence of these signs. The following are some of the symptoms-

  • Growth rate slows down

  • Weight reduction

  • Puberty delayed

  • Joints and bones ache

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Recurrent headaches or migraines

  • Itchy, red, and scaly skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)

  • Aphthous ulcers, recurrent canker sore-like mouth sores

Adolescents may experience anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and mood disorders with celiac disease.

Celiac disease in children with no or mild symptoms. The second are other signs of celiac disease that do not cause typical symptoms-

  • Anemia - caused by a lack of iron

  • Elevated AST and ALT levels in the liver

  • Osteoporosis (thin bones)

  • Defects in the enamel of the teeth

Severe Celiac Disease in Children

Celiac disease is becoming increasingly rare in kids. The following are symptoms of severe cases-

  • An abdominal blockage is known as intussusception

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Electrolyte disruption is caused by excessive water loss in the stool

  • Shallow blood pressure


  • Blood test measuring gluten-related antibodies

  • Endoscopy and biopsy

  • Screening blood antibody testing may produce erroneous results

Treatment of celiac disease in children:

  • The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet.

  • A registered dietitian can help create a healthy and balanced gluten-free meal plan.

  • Foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye, must be avoided.

  • Gluten can be found in many processed foods, so it's important to read food labels carefully.

  • Vitamins and mineral supplements may be necessary to address nutrient deficiencies.

  • In severe cases, a child may need to receive intravenous nutrition until the intestines heal.

  • Follow-up appointments with a doctor and dietitian are essential to ensure that the child is growing and thriving on the gluten-free diet.

Why Do Some Kids Become Sick Early While Others Don't?

Celiac disease can develop at any age after consuming wheat or other gluten-containing foods, but it is most common between the months of 6 and 9.

If your child shows symptoms of celiac disease or if the disease runs in your family, it's vital to test them very away.


Early diagnosis and a gluten-free diet can help babies with celiac disease live a healthy life. Seek advice from a medical professional if you have any concerns about your child's health or development.

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