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Pediatric Gastroenterology - Celiac Disease

​​​​​​​​​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.​


Dietary Changes
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.​

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How Much Do You Know About Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that can affect children and adults alike. Also known as celiac sprue, this disease is the most common genetic disease in Europe and is considered significantly underdiagnosed in the U.S. Learn more about the disease by taking this quiz.

1. People with celiac disease cannot eat which kind of food?
2. What circumstance may trigger celiac disease?
3. Celiac disease is one of two forms of sprue (pronounced "SPROO"). The other form is tropical sprue. What causes tropical sprue?
4. People with celiac disease often have which other disease?
5. Which of these is a symptom of celiac disease?
6. How is celiac disease diagnosed?
7. How is celiac disease treated?
8. A person with celiac disease can still eat:
9. Which of these can be a complication of celiac disease?