It’s the common assumption that those with Celiac lose weight (due to malabsorption or chronic diarrhea issues). Our family has had very different presentations of Celiac.
Tiny stature/failure to thrive occurred with PolkaDotMommy (until puberty… to the point of being checked for growth hormone needs), McKenzie (9lbs 7oz at birth to 16lbs 2oz at 12 months), and Kelsey (though not diagnosed with Celiac yet she’s the size of a 4 year old at 6 years).
Kaylee was always an average size/little on the small size child. She grew on a normal curve and generally wore the same size as her age. The last year or so, she had thickened up, especially around the belly. She still needed a size 10 (in length) but things were way too tight on her. So, I went on a search for 10 1/2 or 10 plus sizes. Kaylee has now been off gluten for about a month, yesterday she put on a pair of 10 1/2 jeans and they were literally falling off her. I haven’t checked to see if her weight has changed, but her belly circumference has most definitely decreased, as has the puffiness in her hands and face.
I am short (5ft 1in)… when I was younger, the Doctors told me I sabotaged my own height by not getting proper nourishment. I had many issues with food growing up, probably because my subconscious knew food was making me sick. Growing up, family always said I was “sickly looking” and constantly tried to force feed me. I had joint pain, bowel issues, stomach aches, and a myriad of other “traditional” symptoms. I quit being “tiny” around puberty but still stayed thin. All through my teen years, I knew things weren’t right with my reproductive system but the Doctors just said, “you’re young we aren’t going to worry” and would want to give me birth control pills to regulate my cycles. At age 19 (and planning to marry) I found a new doctor who immediately did testing to determine what was going on. I began hormone therapy so that I would be able to conceive and BAM, I started gaining weight (I was also eating the Standard American Diet). AWESOME. The only time I’ve been successful at losing weight was when I switched to clean eating with very limited gluten (I’ve never managed to get myself completely gluten free even though I KNOW its a must). I eat gluten, I gain weight. Funny that.
McKenzie is still a thin child, but looks healthy. She isn’t too thin. She does have a flat belly now but used to have a bit of a distended/bloated belly look even when she was thin. I thought the distended belly was hereditary (her father ALWAYS had a distended belly, as a child and as an adult even when into weight lifting due to a muscle issue in his lower chest/upper abdomen).
Kelsey is just plain tiny however she is healthy (and is gluten free). She still has belly complaints and has reflux (diagnosed at age 3). Part of her belly complaints may be related to her sensory issues.
My paternal grandfather probably had Celiac… he knew that grains were off limits for his entire life. We only had one conversation about his diet when I was 18 and he would come into the diner I worked at to have breakfast once a week. I asked why he always ordered ham, eggs, and hashbrowns… never any toast. He told me that bread grains had always made him very sick, “they” linked it to the kerosene he drank at the age of 2 (and was lucky to survive). At the time, I accepted that as a plausible answer. Grandpa was a very small man. I don’t know what his actual height was, but it was only a couple inches taller than my 5ft 1in. He was also quite thin. He died from lung cancer when I was 20 so we can’t investigate the real reason for his grain intolerance.