Children play what they like wherever they want. Likewise, they are known to eat anything that they can get their hands on. Kids are known to possess such curious, impulsive, and playful traits, which can be tolerated by most. Yet, when they feel unwell, things are never okay; like this one instance of a child who suffered from non-stop diarrhea.
This particular case of the then two-and-a-half-year-old child was odd. She was first diagnosed with toddler diarrhea for having developed a non-stop case of the condition. Her parents blamed the daycare center for this unusual diagnosis. Since the child complained of her rumbling tummy and of pooping a lot, her parents stopped feeding her acidic foods and beverages like apple juice
Despite the effort, nothing changed in her condition. If anything, it just got worse and nothing seemed to work. A few months later, the parents noticed an even more alarming incident: their child’s poop turned orange. She was then sent to a pediatric gastroenterology clinic where the child underwent several tests.
It was then that the parents and the child heard the possibility of having celiac disease.
Celiac and the orange poop
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself in an attempt to digest the gluten intake. When a person consumes wheat, rye, barley, or contaminated oats, antibodies attack the villi, which are nutrient-absorbing fibers of the small intestine. This results in damaged villi and a malabsorption of nutrients that the body needs. The food, on the other hand, heads straight to the exit while being improperly digested.
The condition can lead to various symptoms and problems in the body. In addition, each person is affected differently and to varying degrees. One of the common symptoms is diarrhea. As it is known to many, diarrhea is characterized by a loose, watery stool, which is typically accompanied by vomiting, cramping, and other symptoms. It causes dehydration, rectal, or abdominal pain, fever, and colored stool.
While diarrhea can also be experienced because of medications and bacteria, celiac disease-stricken patients can also have it. As for the case discussed above, the condition is called steatorrhea, or fatty stool, which resulted in an orange fatty poop. The feces contained undigested nutrients, protein, salts, fibers, dead cells, mucous, and other body waste.
The treatment for steatorrhea mainly depends on the underlying cause. If the tests show that it is due to celiac disease, the most effective treatment is to avoid wheat and other food that contain gluten. Since these foods trigger the symptoms, removing it will surely better the patient’s condition. Nevertheless, it is equally important to consult a doctor for medications and the necessary lifestyle changes that should be adopted.
Children and gluten intolerance
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that can be inherited. Although the condition is triggered by wheat consumption, those who have it in their family are more prone to carrying it as well. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who have children in their family should be wary of the symptoms because an untreated and undiagnosed celiac disease can lead to other serious disorders, such as osteoporosis and cancer.
Statistics estimate that at least 17 percent of diagnosed cases of celiac disease in the United States are children between the ages four and twelve. Twenty-seven percent of them are between the ages of twelve and twenty while the rest are over twenty years old. This data implies there is a good chance of children developing the disease. This also pushes people to pay more attention to the early symptoms since early diagnosis and awareness are key to treating the condition.
To diagnose celiac disease, patients have to undergo two main tests, namely a blood test and a endoscopy. For blood tests, experts look for the concentration of antibodies. An elevated number signals that there is something wrong with the system. Although 98% of it is accurate among adults, the result can be unreliable for children, thus the second step is crucial. Through the endoscopy, the villi will be closely examined and samples from the intestinal tissue are taken to the lab for a confirmation test. The process should confirm or repudiate the presumption.
It is challenging to deal with celiac disease when the patient is only a kid. After all, most, if not all, of them are fond of pizza, oats, cereals, bread, and other food that contains wheat. Add to the dilemma, the fact that kids love to eat them. Taking these foods out of their diet could cause them emotional distress, or worst, reduce their food intake. Any of the two could be detrimental to their health.
Be wary of the red flags
Anyone will hesitate to have his or her kid undergo tests, especially the invasive ones. However, they are the only methods available to make things certain. But before any test is conducted, it is important to look for celiac disease manifestations so that early treatment may be given. Do not rely on food labelled ‘gluten-free’ as this can be false. There is no need to become overly cautious though since celiac in itself is not life-threatening. Nevertheless, it pays to keep a close look at these red flags to avoid worsening conditions.
Celiac disease causes a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms, which includes bloating. Bloating happens when your midsection becomes more puffed than usual or more than expected. This is bothersome enough, but the bigger concern is finding out the cause.
Diarrhea, steatorrhea, or a similar symptom dehydrates the body. This happens because the stool carries with it the electrolytes that should have stayed inside the body. Worse, diarrhea can be followed by bloody (orange) stool, rectal pain, and several other signs.
Fatigue is a common condition but when severe fatigue strikes one has difficulty concentrating and completing tasks. The person is dizzy and faints, experiences vertigo, and constant exhaustion. In short, a person cannot do so much at all.
Celiac disease also affects the brain, spine, and nerves that can distress one’s cognitive functioning. The memory and movements are only some that can be affected when neurological issues are present. If any related symptom is observed, immediately seek help.
Sudden Weight Loss or Weight Gain
Sudden weight loss or weight gain is one of the classic signs of celiac disease. In children, however, weight gain is more common. In fact, 75 percent of them are either obese or overweight. Consider testing for celiac disease if this symptom is experienced.
The cause of joint pain is not always arthritis; it can also be celiac. The connection between celiac and joint pain is not yet understood, but it could stem from the nutrient deficiencies experienced from not consuming gluten-based food.
Heartburn could only be heartburn. However, if the condition recurs with a consistently high gastroesophageal reflux, it could be a case of gluten intolerance. Gluten may also irritate the lining of the esophagus.
The association between skin problems and gluten intolerance is still relatively weak, but some studies have found a possible connection. Take the precautionary measures and talk to your doctor about extreme cases of skin rashes, dermatitis and others.
Orange poop among children could simply be attributed to the color of the food they recently ate. However, knowing that celiac could be the reason, it is even more necessary to take precautions. Celiac disease can affect anyone at any age, but children are particularly defenseless against it without the adult’s guidance. Prevent the condition from worsening and take them to the experts.