Gluten intolerance, allergy, hypersensitivity
Gluten, or a mixture of vegetable proteins found in popular cereals, e.g. wheat, rye, barley, can cause many unpleasant symptoms. It is becoming increasingly loud that the reason is simple - modifying food. The gluten present in today's bread does not resemble the one our grandmothers ate, hence the more frequent problems with intolerance.
A gluten-free diet is essential for celiac disease, permanent gluten intolerance. It also becomes a medicine in other diseases - allergies or hypersensitivity that is difficult to diagnose. It is often recommended for many digestive tract diseases. The practice of some parents indicates that it is helpful for autistic children and hyperactive children.
Gluten, which some scientists consider to be toxin, is excluded from the diet, also because to increase concentration and intellectual potential. Although scientific research yields conflicting research results, most scientists believe that gluten alone is not needed for anything by people. If in its place we do not introduce highly processed nutrients, excluding it from the diet does not bring any negative health effects.
So, just in case, exclude gluten from your diet?
No. First of all, because the gluten-free diet requires sacrifices and is not at all simple in daily use. In addition, going on a diet without a diagnosis can also be dangerous.
It is important to especially in case of suspected celiac disease, which requires a strict gluten-free diet throughout life, Before switching to a gluten-free diet, clearly confirm the disease.
What can be the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
The symptoms of gluten intolerance can be very different. This is because eating gluten can lead to many abnormalities in the body, starting with common digestive problems and ending with non-specific symptoms not associated with diet at all - for example, neurological problems.
- diarrhea, urgent need to defecate after each meal,
- constipation - more often in adults, but also in children,
- recurrent abdominal pain (referred to as "inside, around the navel")
- reluctance to eat
- refusing some meals (sometimes unconscious avoidance of gluten, the child does not want to eat bread, pasta, breaded meats, etc.)
- fetid, abundant stools,
- apathy, lack of energy,
- tiredness, drowsiness
- headaches, migraines,
- bloated tummy, lean arms and legs (disproportionate silhouette),
- joint pain, tingling
- recurrent rashes and skin lesions,
- irritability, mood swings,
- reduced concentration
- low weight
- slow growth
- deficiencies of vitamins and minerals (B, D vitamins, iron, etc.),
- bone brittleness
- tooth enamel defects.
These symptoms can be difficult to identify in young children who are often unaware of what is happening to them. Sometimes they are also confused with food poisoning, fatigue resulting from going to kindergarten, school, etc.
What to do if you think your child has gluten intolerance symptoms?
The first step is going to the doctor and do tests. You can also check on your own whether your child has celiac disease or gluten allergy (in both cases this can be determined by commissioning other tests). Due to the fact that the examination is expensive and the diagnosis based on it is not so simple, better Ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist (exclusion of celiac disease) and an allergist (to check if your child is allergic to gluten).
In turn, the real challenge can be diagnosis of gluten hypersensitivity, which can usually be identified only by observing the child and assessing the occurrence of symptoms after ingestion of gluten.
If the tests for celiac disease and gluten allergy are negative, and you still suspect gluten, we can testally discontinue gluten for two weeks, watching how your child reacts.
In any situation, it is worth remaining under the control of an experienced doctor.