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Top 5 celiac disease symptoms in children that require gluten-free diets

Lana Bandoim's picture

If you are worried that your child may have celiac disease and requires a gluten-free diet, then you have to pay attention to the most common symptoms. The risk of long-term damage and complications is high without a diagnosis.


Does your child complain about stomach pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea? Have you noticed a strange, itchy rash? There are many celiac disease symptoms in children, but you should be aware of at least the top five. If you are concerned about your child’s health, then you must speak to your doctor.

Most common celiac disease symptoms in children that require gluten-free diets

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can affect both children and adults. Your immune system reacts to gluten, which is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye and barley, and it can lead to damage in your intestines. The symptoms of celiac disease can vary from person to person, but there are some commonalities.

1. Stomach pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea

Children who have celiac disease frequently complain about stomach pain and bloating. They may also have cycles of constipation and diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea or constipation is common. In many cases, parents notice a protruding or swollen belly in their kids.

2. Itchy skin rashes

One of the most common celiac disease symptoms in children is an itchy skin rash. Also known as dermatitis herpetiformis, this skin rash can look like red bumps and blisters. Children complain about having itchy skin and being uncomfortable with the rash.

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3. Vomiting

Vomiting can be a symptom of celiac disease in children, but it is also easy to confuse it with other health problems. In some cases, kids throw up immediately after eating a meal with gluten. In other instances, there may be a delayed response, so this symptom by itself is usually not enough for a diagnosis.

4. Failure to thrive and delayed growth

Parents often notice that children with celiac disease may be behind their peers on the growth charts. They may be underweight, shorter and smaller than their classmates or friends. Failure to thrive refers to growth problems in kids and means a child is not gaining weight. Researchers believe that the malabsorption of nutrients because of celiac disease and gluten intolerance is behind these issues.

5. Behavior issues and irritability

Irritability and behavior problems are common celiac disease symptoms in kids. Gluten has links to brain fog and cognitive impairment, so it is not surprising that it can influence behavior in children. Children with undiagnosed celiac disease may be more irritable, unhappy, angry and have no appetite.

What to do if you see celiac disease symptoms in your children

If you see these symptoms in your kids, then it is time to take action. Celiac disease does not have a cure, and the gluten-free diet is the only official recommendation from medical professionals to help the condition. Before you start your children on the gluten-free diet, you should consult with your doctor and do the required testing such as biopsies and blood tests. The only treatment is a life-long gluten-free diet.



My friends daughter is a celiac (well they found out when she was about 9!) she really suffered and lost almost half of her weight! It's good to spot the signs early so that the right diet can be had. Thanks for this informative piece. Well done you.