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Celiac disease in children

Celiac disease in children causes gluten to damage villi, the finger-like projections in the small intestine responsible for absorbing nutrients from food. When the villi are damaged, the body can't absorb nutrients the body needs to grow. If that happens, a child can become malnourished. The Celiac Program provides comprehensive care for patients diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Our team uses the most current treatment methods to meet the medical, nutritional, and psychosocial needs of each patient. 

Celiac disease symptoms

There are many symptoms associated with celiac disease, these include but are not limited to: abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation; pale, foul-smelling stools, vomiting, weight loss, or trouble gaining weight, short stature, fatigue, iron deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron replacement therapy, osteopenia/osteoporosis, headache, and joint pain.

What to expect during your visit

You will be contacted by the nurse coordinator to schedule a clinic visit for your child. The nurse coordinator will identify the type of appointment that is best for your child based on testing that has already been completed. We recommend that children remain on a regular diet until a diagnosis of celiac disease is made in clinic.

Initial consultation

Patients must have celiac disease symptoms, positive lab work, or a diagnosis of celiac disease by endoscopy prior to scheduling an appointment. Your child's history will be discussed and the doctor will make recommendations for any additional tests that may be helpful or arrange for education on the gluten-free diet.

Gluten-free education

Our dietitian will provide you with information about eating a gluten-free diet. Diet education appointments last about two hours. During this visit you will also see Julia Bracken, MD and Linda Bird, RD.

Follow-up visits

When patients are diagnosed with celiac disease, they will be seen in clinic three months after the start of their gluten-free diet, six months after diagnosis, and 12 months after diagnosis. After the first year, patients will be seen in clinic annually and on an as-needed basis.