Could You or Your Child Be Gluten Intolerant?
Comedians joke about the trendiness of gluten intolerance, but there's nothing funny when it affects your child or your family. The signs are not as easy to diagnose as an allergy that causes you to break out in hives or have another immune system reaction. A gluten intolerance is much more subtle, but just as serious. Here are a few ways you can recognize a gluten intolerance.
Fatigue or Brain Fog
This symptom is a difficult one because it can be caused by a number of problems, including not getting enough sleep. But if you or your child are otherwise well rested and have no reason to feel tired, lethargic, or not altogether there, the fatigue may be the result of a gluten intolerance.
Keep a food journal, recording energy and focus levels after a meal that contains gluten. Do you see a difference between energy levels when eating gluten-free foods versus foods with gluten?
If you eat a well-balanced diet and are healthy, your or your child's system should perform like a well-maintained machine. There may be occasional issues — but not regular digestive problems. If, however, you notice gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation after consumption of gluten, it's possible you're looking at an intolerance. Sometimes the digestive issue appears as long as 24–36 hours after consumption.
Again, keep a food journal, noting digestive issues of any kind and the food consumed. Digestive issues caused by an intolerance can vary from person to person, so note anything that causes discomfort.
Often when the body suffers from one autoimmune disease, there are others as well. If you or your child have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis, you may want to consult your healthcare provider to see if a gluten intolerance may also be at play.
There have been a lot of studies about migraines and their causes. If you or your child suffer from migraines that don't seem to be triggered by stress or a neurological cause, a gluten intolerance is a possibility.
If you or your child break out in a rash or have eczema that seems to get worse after gluten consumption, begin recording food eaten as well as when you notice the skin issues. If you start to see a pattern between gluten consumption and rashes, contact your healthcare provider.
Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Here's another symptom that is hard to diagnose if you or your child are already lacking sleep. It's an easy one to overlook for a child if bedtime has been an issue recently, but if those circles don't go away when your child is well rested, they could be a sign of a gluten intolerance or an allergy.
A gluten intolerance is often tricky to recognize, especially since symptoms can take as long as a day and a half to present. If you suspect that someone you love may have developed one, keep a food journal and practice an elimination diet, staying gluten-free for at least two weeks. If you notice a significant change in symptoms, consult your healthcare practitioner for best practices to address the intolerance.