Understanding Your Child's Gluten Allergy
Children diagnosed with gluten sensitivities have to take care to watch what they eat so that they don’t wind up in pain later on. Luckily for parents, society has caught on, and plenty of fast-food places and supermarkets offer gluten-free options. Gluten allergies are rare and could be severe, but if parents can help their children follow a proper diet, they should have healthy and happy lives.
What is a Gluten Allergy?
A gluten allergy could be something known as gluten sensitivity (GS), which often presents the same symptoms as Celiac but is not considered to be an autoimmune disease. Those with GS will experience discomfort or pain after digesting food made with gluten.
Kids that have been diagnosed by a doctor with Celiac disease are entirely unable to digest gluten, like wheat, rye, barley, or any grain derivatives. This is considered an autoimmune disease that happens in every 1 in 100 people. If left undetected, eating gluten will damage the small intestine. A child with Celiac may have extreme intestinal discomfort or pain, slowed gross motor development, and possible learning problems.
It’s vital to visit an experienced pediatrician to make sure your child’s condition is accurately diagnosed and treated.
What Symptoms Should Parents Watch For?
It’s often difficult to tell with children what exactly is hurting them. Or, if your child has already been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any symptoms to make sure the situation isn’t becoming worse.
Some symptoms include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Pain in the stomach/intestinal area
- Poor school performance/difficulty concentrating
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, get them tested for a gluten allergy. Better to be safe than sorry!
Explaining a Gluten Allergy to Your Child
It’s not easy to be a kid with gluten sensitivity. Kids love to eat junk food and share snacks, but unfortunately, many of those products have gluten. For many people, including kids, eating is a social activity, and keeping a diet that prevents them from eating what their friends eat is a test in discipline. Of course, you should have a conversation with the child and make sure they understand which foods will make them hurt and which foods are safe.
The younger the child, the more difficult it is sticking to the proper diet. If your child is still in elementary school, you can make sure to speak to their teacher and school about providing gluten-free snacks. The teacher can help keep an eye on your kid throughout lunch and snack time, which should help curb any temptation.
For older children, they must bear some responsibility by adhering to their diet without that much supervision. Try providing them with a gluten-free lunch and snacks for a few weeks after the diagnosis, to make sure that they do have the food they can eat readily available.
Always follow a diet plan set explicitly by a doctor or nutritionist after a diagnosis.
Experienced Pediatricians in Richmond, VA
The team at Glen Allen Pediatrics is dedicated to providing quality care for children from infancy throughout their college years. They understand the difficulties of a gluten allergy for a child, and can help walk your family through the treatment. Call us at 804-282-4210 to schedule an appointment today. Our office is BBB accredited with an A+ rating, and our doctors have over 60 years of combined experience in pediatrics. Help your child get through their new diet with the help of a caring doctor as soon as possible.