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Pediatric Celiac Disease and Dietary Intolerances

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a immune mediated disorder characterized by inflammation of the small intestine secondary to permanent sensitivity to gluten. Children affected can have a range of symptoms. It is genetic and is more common in families but can occur spontaneously in individuals as well. There is a environmental trigger starts the disease in the right person who is genetically susceptible. It is also seen more commonly in other genetic and autoimmune disorders, especially Type I diabetes and Down Syndrome.

What are symptoms of Celiac disease ?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Poor growth or weight gain
  • Short Stature
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed puberty

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

Celiac disease is diagnosed based on combination of screening for the disease with blood tests and then confirming the disease with endoscopy.  Celiac disease serology tests as they are known test for antibodies produced by the body based on the sensitivity to gluten. Anti-gliadin, tissue transglutaminase and endomysial antibodies are the names of the most common tests. Confirmation of celiac disease (the gold standard) is accomplished with upper endoscopy with biopsy of the small intestine.

How is celiac disease treated?

Celiac disease is treated with a gluten free diet. With strict avoidance of gluten, the symptoms and inflammation of intestines, and any other non-intestinal symptoms will resolve. This treatment is lifelong.

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances are maldigestion of a food or food components that result in gastrointestinal symptoms. Unlike food allergies, food intolerances are for the most part not associated with a immune response or inflammation. Although, food intolerances can cause similar symptoms seen with immune mediated or inflammatory GI disease. The most common food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Other common food intolerances include sucrose intolerance, fructose intolerance and gluten intolerance (also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity)

What are common symptoms of food intolerance?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

How are food intolerances diagnosed?

  • Evaluation by a Pediatric Gastroenterologist
  • Self-diagnosis with dietary elimination
  • Hydrogen Breath Testing
  • Endoscopy
  • Laboratory testing: 

How are food intolerances treated?

Food intolerances are treated with avoidance or elimination of the particular food. Certain food intolerances such as lactose and sucrose intolerances can be treated with digestive enzymes, along with food avoidance.

Our specialists are dedicated to finding the best treatment options and to work with you to help improve the food disorder affecting your child’s life.

Our specialists also work collaboratively with our colleagues at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida including nutritional specialists in the diagnostic and treatment process.