Celiac Mama's Blog

Raising a toddler with Celiac Disease

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in a Toddler April 4, 2011

Filed under: symptoms — celiacmama @ 11:55 pm
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My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about 13 months ago, when she was almost one year old.  Looking back, I don’t know how our first pediatrician didn’t pick up on the signs.  She was clearly very, very sick.  Thankfully the mama bear in me came out and we switched pediatricians in order to figure out what was wrong with my baby girl!  The symptoms definitely attributed to Celiac Disease are/were the following:

  • Big drop on the growth percentiles chart – My little girl stopped growing.  She went from the 70th percentile for weight down to the 10th percentile for weight.  She lost all her chubbiness and started looking quite gaunt.
  • Anemia
  • Elevated alkaline phosphatase levels
  • Constipation – Before learning more about celiac disease, I thought all sufferers had diarrhea.  Now I know that constipation can be a sign as well!
  • Fatigue – My poor baby girl slept all the time.  I brought it up at an appointment with her pediatrician and he said I should just consider myself lucky.  Take note – children are not supposed to sleep for 20 hours a day when they are nearing one year old!
  • Edema – my little girl had swelling around her lungs.  This caused her to have asthma-like symptoms, which included a chronic cough and wheezing.   Thankfully she doesn’t have asthma (she did great this past winter), but we had to use a nebulizer quite a bit right before and after she was diagnosed.

She also had other symptoms, that I can’t definitely say Celiac Disease is the cause of.  These symptoms are:

  • Delayed speech and gross motor skills.  Her new pediatrician hypothesizes that this is due to her focusing on trying to survive rather than learning how to talk and crawl/walk.
  • Fractures – she has fractured her legs twice now.  She is only two and has only been walking since about 20 months!
  • Delay in getting teeth, growing hair – this is just speculation, but my baby girl didn’t get teeth forever!  And, she had very little hair until after getting on a gluten free diet.

So, those are what I can think of at this point!  I’ll add more as I find out more or think of them.  What symptoms have your children had?