Gluten Sensitivity: What’s All the Hype About?

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor May 31, 2018

By now, you have probably encountered a friend or acquaintance with gluten

sensitivity and, like me, you have probably wondered – what’s all the hype about?

Unlike Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder affecting 1% of the

population, gluten sensitivity is not well understood. What is known is that it affects

approximately 6% of the general population and appears to be even higher in

children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and sensory processing


There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate a child is suffering from

gluten sensitivity. The most common symptom is “brain fog” or having trouble

focusing or completing tasks. Children with gluten sensitivity may also suffer from

chronic headaches or migraines, dizziness, rashes such as eczema, joint pain or

numbness, and/or gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating).

They may also exhibit failure to thrive and older children may be shorter in stature.

If you suspect your child is suffering from gluten sensitivity, speak with your

pediatrician about your concerns. Keeping a food diary and sharing the symptoms

you have observed will be helpful in preparing for the visit. Once your pediatrician

evaluates your child, he or she may discuss next steps such as a gluten free diet

and/or referral to a specialist such as a pediatric gastroenterologist.