Coeliac Disease

About Coeliac Disease

If your child has been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, this means their body reacts abnormally to a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, barley and oats called gluten. Children can develop the disease as young as just 6 months of age, usually in conjunction with transition to solids containing gluten. Testing for the disease is straightforward, and a diagnosis is important for managing symptoms and health outcomes.

Examination and Diagnosis

Coeliac disease is inherited but not all children with the genes will develop the disease. Environmental factors and past medical history including gastrointestinal viruses can play a role in triggering the disease. Dr McIntyre will examine your child and take a thorough medical and family history. Diagnosis usually involves antibody screening via a series of blood tests or in some children may require a gastroscopy to inspect the villi in your child’s intestinal walls for damage.


Without a cure available for the disease, children and adults alike with coeliac disease must follow a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. By omitting gluten from their diet, your child’s small intestine can heal and symptoms should recede within a few days or weeks. In some children, damage to their intestinal tract has impacted their nutrient absorption.

In this case they may be prescribed a supplement for a period of time.


It’s important to know

  • Even the smallest amounts of gluten in your child’s diet can damage their intestine, even if they do not show symptoms
  • It’s important to consult a dietitian about how to manage a gluten-free diet for your child
  • Treat gluten as you would an allergen, store it separately in your home and use different or well-cleaned utensils or appliances for all gluten-free food preparation
  • There can be hidden gluten in many foods, its important to read labels carefully when choosing products for your child with coeliac disease

Promoting good health in our children

“Working closely with children and their families, it's immensely satisfying to be able to make a difference to their lives by managing their medical conditions with care and compassion.”

Dr Emma McIntyre