I had a protruding abdomen for several years before I realized I needed to go gluten free. I was already in my 30s and had given birth to three boys. One day my stomach would look fine. The next day after eating a few slices of bread I could look 5 months pregnant. I had no idea my protruding abdomen was a sign of anything serious. At one time I even joked about it. But it wasn’t funny when our little boy started having stomach issues. He too had a protruding abdomen. Now when I look back I clearly see those serious digestive health issues. But for a long time we didn’t recognize them. If you or your child has a protruding abdomen and signs of irritability, consider testing for gluten intolerance. It’s possible this could be an underlying cause. And if you are not careful, ignoring that protruding abdomen, also known as a wheat belly, may lead to an even more sinister condition: celiac disease.
Protruding Abdomen and Depression, May be Celiac for Some
In our case things came to a head finally after my son’s routine vaccinations when he was 3. This was when his digestive issues became neurological too. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was suffering from celiac disease. That’s an autoimmune disorder that causes many symptoms. The only cure for it is to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Until that time we just passed off his many symptoms of gluten intolerance, including his protruding abdomen, to normal toddler development. Now when I look back I can clearly see that his large, extended, sore, bloated belly was not at all normal. It was caused by a leaky gut which all started because of a diet full of flour, processed foods, and sugar.
I had a friend that once joked about her first child being her experimental one.
There’s a lot of truth in that. As parents we often either over reach or completely ignore things we should pay close attention to in our first child. It’s hard to know what’s normal and what’s not.
Our son’s neurological issues forced us to do a whole battery of tests. When they all came back normal, except his blood screening, we started looking in a new direction.
You see, his blood screening showed he had some vitamin deficiencies and abnormal white blood cell count. Still no one commented on his protruding belly. I continued to feed him wheat and gluten. His symptoms of irritability became more frequent. He began to sleep less. He was falling apart right before our eyes.
Finally, we found a treatment center that tested him for nutrient levels, pyroluria (also called pyrrole disorder), and food intolerance through Dr. William Walsh. This is how we discovered he was gluten intolerant. We promptly gave up the wheat. And unlike what they tell you on the Dr. Oz show, after two weeks he still wasn’t much better.
For our son the recovery period took over 1 1/2 years. We had to have special compounded vitamins made for him. We had to give up 17 foods, sugar, and of course, anything with gluten. We stopped feeding him processed foods and began buying organic whole foods. We gave up corn. We gave up artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. His deficiencies are well under control now. His body has recovered and he’s really healthy. Our son has been gluten free for almost 7 years now. His pyroluria is in check, too. We do maintenance doses in normal RDA amounts now. We haven’t seen a flare up in years. He sleeps well, eats well, and no longer has a protruding abdomen or signs of depression and irritability.
If you have a child with a protruding abdomen, low weight, and dark circles under the eyes, consider testing for gluten intolerance or celiac. It can also contribute to poor performance in school, and to symptoms of depression. You need to also consider testing for that little known blood hemoglobin condition called pyroluria or pyrrole disorder.
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