Lifestyle

My little girl can’t play with friends

A mother has shared how her little girl can’t play with her friends at her house as she risks a hospital visit just by leaving the house.

Etta Connor has been suffering from a severe form of celiac disease since last year.

Etta Connor and her mother pose with their bike, which she will ride for a good cause

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Etta Connor and her mother pose with their bike, which she will ride for a good causeCredit: BPM

The six-year-old had been bloated as a baby but it took a while for the correct diagnosis to be made.

She was put on a strict gluten-free diet by doctors to avoid her small intestine attacking itself.

Her parents, Caroline and Gary Connor, removed anything that had traces of old gluten and scrubbed their kitchen clean after they found it out.

But they run the risk of accidentally coming into contact with something contaminated when she leaves the house.

Caroline, 35, told SurreyLive: “She can’t eat in someone else’s kitchen because they will contain gluten,” she said.

“Because of her age, it would be difficult to explain to a parent what she can and can’t eat, so it’s safer to go on playdates here.”

Even at school, Etta had a hard time because there could be traces of gluten.

On a few occasions, she has been taken to the emergency room after being accidentally contaminated.

The family plans to raise awareness of the disease with Etta riding her new bike 100km for celiac disease in the UK this month.

“We really want to raise awareness about this condition so more people get diagnosed sooner rather than later,” said father Gary, 40.

“We also hope that Etta will gain confidence, pride and acceptance for who she is, knowing that there are many who will support her on her journey.”

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten.

This damages your gut (small intestine), preventing you from absorbing nutrients.

Celiac disease can cause a range of symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating caused by an adverse reaction to gluten.

Eating foods containing gluten can trigger a range of gut symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea, which can smell particularly bad
  • stomach pain
  • Bloating and farting (flatulence)
  • indigestion
  • constipation
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Celiac disease can also cause more general symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue (fatigue) as a result of insufficient absorption of nutrients from food (malnutrition)
  • unintentional weight loss
  • an itchy rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Trouble getting pregnant (infertility)
  • nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Disorders affecting coordination, balance and speech (ataxia)

There is no cure for celiac disease, but a gluten-free diet should help control symptoms and prevent the condition’s long-term complications.

Even with mild symptoms, a change in diet is recommended.

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Credit: BPM

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Sarah Y. Kim

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