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HealthInfo Canterbury

Coeliac disease in children

This information is about coeliac disease in children. Click here to learn about coeliac disease in adults.

About coeliac disease

People with coeliac disease have a permanent intolerance to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats). In coeliac disease, gluten damages the lining of your small bowel (also called the small intestine), which stops it absorbing food properly. Coeliac disease affects about 1% of New Zealanders. To read more about coeliac disease in children, see this factsheet from the Sydney Children's Hospital.

Does my child have coeliac disease?

Make an appointment with your GP if you are worried about any of the following symptoms, which may mean your child has coeliac disease. Many children only have a few symptoms or even no symptoms at all.

If your child has a first-degree relative (mother, father or sibling) with coeliac disease, they have a 10% chance of having coeliac disease.

If your child's coeliac disease remains undiagnosed or untreated for a long time, they could develop complications such as osteoporosis, bowel cancer, and infertility.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by paediatric gastroenterologist, Child Health, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2016.

In this section

Coeliac disease tests & diagnosis for children

Living with a child diagnosed with coeliac disease

Page reference: 47447

Review key: HICDC-16032