Could Your Child Have Celiac Disease?
By Carolyn Leigh Kellerman
oes your child suffer from fatigue or
loss of energy, have severe abdominal
cramping, migraines or chronic diarrhea or constipation? If so, they could be
suffering from Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease,
also known as Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy is
still a mystery. One out of 133 people in the
United States are affected by Celiac Disease.
Many people live with it and do not even realize they have it.
Celiac is not a food allergy. It’s an autoimmune disease. Some food allergies, such as
wheat allergy, go away as you age. This is not
the case with Celiac Disease.
Just ask Brett and Lauren Ravitz of
Voorhees. Their daughter Hailey was diagnosed in February 2010 with Celiac Disease.
She was only 2-years-old.
Hailey was always a happy and outgoing
child but her energy level slowly began to
diminish when she started vomiting a few
times a day, usually before and after dinner.
Her happy demeanor disappeared also.
Doctors believed she was having a difficult time recovering from a stomach virus. “I
thought it was a bad combination of just having a new baby sister and moving into our new
house,” states Lauren.
By April, Hailey was vomiting every other
day and sometimes in the middle of the night.
“She would cry, we would run in and carry her
to the bathroom where she would vomit in
the bathtub; we would clean her up, change
the sheets and put her back in her crib.
Overnight laundry loads were common so we
could be ready for the next night. Midnight
baths were needed when we couldn’t get
there in time and she threw up in her crib,”
explains Lauren. Hailey was losing weight rapidly.
The Ravitz’s took Hailey to a gastroenterologist. They ran several tests, one of which
was an endoscopy, where forceps are passed
through a tube to take a sample of tissue from
the lining of the intestines. The endoscopy
confirmed Hailey had Celiac Disease.
By this time, Hailey had lost 20 percent of
her body weight. The Ravitz’s put Hailey on a
gluten free diet and saw positive changes
almost immediately.
“Our happy daughter was coming back!”
say the Ravitz’s. They felt relief knowing this
wasn’t a life threatening disease, as long as they
Hailey, age 3, of Voorhees
stuck to the new diet.
Hailey is now 3 and doing very well. She
learned to substitute foods such as birthday
cake for gluten free cake and regular pizza for
gluten free.
But it isn’t always easy. Hailey’s parents
will always have to pack her gluten-free food
and take it with them wherever they go.
The Ravitz’s want other parents with
children who have Celiac Disease to know
that with some work, they can live a normal
life. The most important thing is to be prepared.
The Ravitz’s own Shoprite in Cherry Hill,
Marlton and Mt. Laurel. They have now dedicated an entire section to gluten-free foods to
help others who suffer from Celiac Disease.
Celiac disease can appear at any time in a
person’s life. In adults, the disease can be triggered for the first time after surgery, viral
infection, severe emotional stress, pregnancy
or childbirth. Celiac disease is a multi-system,
multi-symptom disorder. Symptoms vary and
are not always gastrointestinal (GI). GI symptoms can often mimic other bowel disorders
so a proper diagnosis can be difficult to obtain.
See your doctor if you or your child has any of
the classic symptoms (see sidebar).✲
• Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
• Distention and bloating of the
• Chronic diarrhea or constipation
(or both)
• Steatorrhea – fatty stools
• Anemia – unexplained, due to folic
acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)
• Unexplained weight loss with large
appetite or weight gain
• Dental enamel defects
• Osteopenia, osteoporosis
• Bone or joint pain
• Fatigue, weakness and lack of
• Infertility – male/female
• Depression
• Mouth ulcers
• Delayed puberty
• Tingling or numbness in hands
or feet
• Migraine headaches
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