Celiac disease, sometimes called enteropathy, is a chronic (long-term) condition mainly affecting the small intestine.
This disease arises in children with a permanent sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
Kids with CD who eat foods with gluten can experience damage to the lining of the small intestine and may not be able to absorb nutrients properly.
Symptoms can include chronic diarrhea, constipation, bloating, irritability, and poor weight gain.
Marshfield Clinic has pediatric specialists who are trained to identify and advise treatments for celiac disease.
Celiac disease is treated by not eating foods with gluten which is difficult because gluten is in many foods.
A Marshfield Clinic dietitian can help adjust someone's diet to cut out gluten. A child should be diagnosed with CD before starting a gluten-free diet.
Eliminating gluten from a child's diet allows the small intestine to heal but will not allow them to eat foods with gluten again.
However, a diagnosis of CD doesn't mean a kid has to give up their favorite foods. Many gluten-free foods are now available in the grocery store or in restaurants.
Support groups are also a good way to stay up to date on new developments in the gluten-free diet.
These groups can also help kids deal with the disease emotionally when they meet others like them who have CD.
Provided a gluten-free diet is followed, medications are not usually needed. However, a physician should monitor the child's progress on the diet to determine if nutritional supplements are required to correct any deficiencies.