FRIDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- At 3 years of age, Pablo Douros was a sick little boy.
He had quit growing. He also had frequent severe constipation, so much so that he suffered a rectal prolapse from straining, said his mother, Andrea Levario of Alexandria, Va.
Because of the prolapse, a condition in which the lower end of the colon protrudes from the body, doctors worried that the boy, who is now 13, had cystic fibrosis.
Pablo's father thought differently. He had been scouring the Internet for information on his son's condition and came across a page on celiac disease.
"Say there were 20 symptoms on the page," Levario said of her now ex-husband. "He himself had 17, and the page said it was genetic." So at Pablo's next appointment, Levario insisted over her doctor's objections that her son be tested for celiac disease. The test came back positive, and a biopsy of the boy's small bowel confirmed the diagnosis.
The family now knew what it needed to do. "The only course of treatment for celiac disease is going on a gluten-free diet," Levario said. And because both father and son seemed to have the disease, the whole family went gluten-free. "It was easier for us to convert the whole house, and the house remains that way to this day," she said.
That doesn't mean, though, that going gluten-free was easy. Pablo was diagnosed in the days before gluten-free foods became widely available. "General Mills didn't have gluten-free Chex," Levario said. "There was no gluten-free Bisquick in stores. We mail-ordered for many of our products."
Levario noticed an immediate change in her son once the family went gluten-free. Pablo had been foggy-minded and irritable much of the time and had trouble concentrating. That all went away when his diet changed, she said, enough so that even people outside the family noticed.
"His teacher commented, 'Has something happened, beca
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