Is My Child Gluten Intolerant?

Gluten intolerance in children has become more common in recent years, resulting in a wider choice of gluten free foods at your local supermarket. The symptoms are common and relatively easy to spot and if your child is gluten intolerant, a change in diet may be called for.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is an important component of many different varieties of food and is found in rye, barley and wheat, as well as many processed foods. A diet rich in gluten can lead to serious problems for any child that cannot tolerate gluten.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Some adults and children are not capable of properly processing gluten in their diet without serious side effects, which range from mild to serious. The term gluten intolerance is sometimes confused with coeliac disease, although the two things are not strictly the same. A person suffering from coeliac disease also typically suffers from damage to the intestine, although both conditions cause many of the same side effects.

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Signs of Gluten Intolerance in Children

Muscle cramping, back pain, anemia and dry skin are typical symptoms of gluten intolerance in children. Other gluten intolerance symptoms in children can include diarrhea, bloating, increased appetite, stomach cramps and gas. Cracks or sores around the corners of the mouth are also a telltale sign of someone who has this condition. The symptoms can vary and not every child will exhibit all of the above symptoms.

What to do if Your Child is Gluten Intolerant

If you know or suspect that your child is gluten intolerant, the first thing to do is to consult your physician, especially as the signs are similar to the more serious coeliac disease. Often the best treatment can be administered at home and you may find that you have to change your child’s diet significantly and start checking food labels and packaging more carefully for the ingredients. More and more popular items now come in a gluten free variety and it is fairly easy to maintain a balanced diet and avoid the gluten at the same time.

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