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Long eyelashes as a marker for Coeliac - please tell me I'm being insane...

(29 Posts)
DottyDot Sat 02-Jun-12 15:31:36

So I've just been on a coeliac discussion forum and there's a thread about one sign of being coeliac is having long eyelashes. I've got really long eyelashes - always have - and have been diagnosed as being coeliac for 6 years now.

what's making me a bit loopy is that ds2's also got very long eyelashes. This is probably only because he looks the absolute spit of me and nothing to do with being coeliac.... he had the blood test as a toddler when I was diagnosed and it was negative, but I also know children often get false negatives.

He doesn't display any symptoms, but then neither did I - I was diagnosed by accident when they were looking for other things. So.... please tell me I'm being bonkers by worrying now that ds2 might be coeliac. The only sign I think he displays is being very tired a lot of the time with dark circles under his eyes - but then he's a very active 8 year old, always on the go.

Aaarrggghhh. Tell me to ignore it! grin

Thumbwitch Sat 02-Jun-12 15:35:24

Dotty - why would it be so bad if he is coeliac if you are as well? Just put him on a gluten-free diet and see if he improves in 2 weeks; the dark circles are a possible hint that all is not quite well, as is the tiredness.
If he improves over 2w of being gluten-free then he probably is coeliac - and while it is a bit of a PITA, it's not the end of the world.

Interesting about the eyelashes though - can't work out how they're connected to it!

DottyDot Sat 02-Jun-12 15:39:10

Hi - no it wouldn't be bad - quite easy really as I already am, but I would be sad about it as it can be a total pain and I wouldn't want that for him.

Yeah I'm not sure about the eyelashes thing either! When you google coeliac + long eyelashes though, loads comes up - it's really odd... confused

I suppose I just think I'm a bit bonkers for diagnosing ds2 on the basis of his beautiful long eyelashes! grin

Thumbwitch Sat 02-Jun-12 15:42:03

No, not really - given the other symptoms you've listed I think it's a reasonable assumption, tbh!

I know it's a pain - I'm GF as well and I keep DS as GF as possible because I know what a horrible time I had as a child with gut problems (not diagnosed coeliac, btw, just went GF to try and deal with IBS and OMG, the difference!)
But it's worth trying the 2w GF to see how he goes. smile

Thumbwitch Sat 02-Jun-12 15:45:57

Actually, I have just googled the eyelash thing out of interest and have found this paper which says that childhood untreated coeliac disease could be associated with growth retardation, so I'd definitely see how he goes on a GF diet, just in case.

phantomnamechanger Sat 02-Jun-12 15:46:14

Are you both blond OP? I have heard that the "typical" coeliac child is blond with a big/wide forehead. As was DD who was confirmed coeliac at 5yo. Never heard the eyelash thing though.

phantomnamechanger Sat 02-Jun-12 15:51:29

The reason DD , aged 5, was first investigated was because of her being so short for her age - we had thought she was taking after me as I am only 5'3" - but her 3 yo sister was the same height and shoe size, and a bit heavier.
We were told she was lucky to be dx before she hit puberty, women dx as adults tend to have more bone problems than those who have chance to recover on GF diet before hitting puberty.

OP, if you are at all concerned about coeliac being missed by bloods, a sympathetic Dr might do a biopsy anyway. As you say the blood test is known to give false negatives in young children.

DottyDot Sat 02-Jun-12 16:14:05

Hi - no we're both dark with blue eyes!

Thumbwitch - see this is the problem - ds2 is built like a shed grin. He's 8, in year 3 and is the tallest by far in his year - is about the size of an average 10 - 11 year old (is in 10 - 11 clothes). But then I'm big as well - 5'8" and hefty to say the least grin

I'm certainly not in any way a 'typical' coeliac so I doubt whether ds2 would be either.

chickydoo Sat 02-Jun-12 16:24:37

I'm coeliac ( diagnosed 15 yes ago)
I have short boring eyelashes ( always have) I am not blonde and do not have a big forehead grin

trixymalixy Sat 02-Jun-12 23:37:16

Interesting. dS has multiple allergies and extremely long eyelashes. He is often very tired and I worry that we have not found out about all his allergies yet. Coeliac is one of the things I have worried about as it runs in DH's family.

Thumbwitch Sun 03-Jun-12 00:16:55

Aha - I can see why you're not so worried then Dotty! But anyway, give him the 2w off gluten and see if it makes a difference. smile

Trixy - I'd get him tested. Before you take him off gluten, otherwise he'll have to go back on it for 6w before testing. I've never bothered getting tested because I didn't make the diet change until I was in my 30s and it was such an improvement, the thought of going back on gluten for 6w just to get a test result is a nightmare, especially as (being in Australia) it wouldn't necessarily help - we don't get prescription help for GF food here. But you do in the UK (unless Scameron has had that away by now as well hmm) so it's worth it there.

DottyDot Sun 03-Jun-12 21:58:48

A lot of people now can't get g-f food on prescription Thumbwitch - one of the many bastard tory cutbacks.... I can only get certain types of bread (which I don't like) and g-f mix, which is better than nothing but I used to be able to get pizza bases, crackers etc. and can't now.

I've talked to to dp about doing a 2 week trial with ds2 but she's not convinced it's worth doing as we're likely not to see any difference. it's really difficult as if he's like me, he won't display any external symptoms, but of course it could be buggering his body up like it did mine - I've been anaemic for years - since I first had an iron test at 18 when I couldn't give blood, and I've got Osteopenia due to lack of calcium intake. but these things don't show up easily from the outside.

I don't want to put ds through a blood test he doesn't need, or make him eat a gf diet if he doesn't need to. sigh.

I think I'll leave it for the moment - the eyelash thing just freaked me out as his are so long!

skrullandcrossbones Sun 03-Jun-12 22:15:30

Dotty, the blood test is really straightforward and not a problem. They use a anaesthetic cream for kids, so they don't feel the needle go in. It's all over in less than 5 minutes. Well worth it to check. The NICE guidelines are that anyone with a first degree relative (parent/child/sibling) with coeliac should have a test, as they have a much higher chance of also having it.

Interestingly my DS1 who has coeliac has very long eyelashes. Also blond with a wide forehead...

Bellared Sun 03-Jun-12 22:15:37

What an interesting thread. DS1 is blond with uber long eye lashes, poor weight gain and dark circles under his eyes and a big head. He's going for a blood test on the 13th to get to the bottom of his bowel problems.

Dotty, our ASDA seems to do a small range GF foods but are well hidden in amongst random foods.

Where do these people get these theories from? Long eye lashes?

5madthings Sun 03-Jun-12 22:27:07

intersting, all of my kids have fabulously long eyelashes, they are blue eyed as well and blondish (darkens as they get older) but no signs of coeliac, but my dad is a coeliac and he has the long eyelashes, which is where i and hence my children get them from! smile

out2lunch Sun 03-Jun-12 22:34:20

oo tell me more both of my dcs have long eyelashes ds is strawberry blond with freckles

he has always had tummy issues as a toddler food went right through him but manages ok
now

stupid question but would it be obvious if he was coeliac??

DottyDot Sun 03-Jun-12 23:24:27

Yes he had the blood test when he was 2 - it was negative but children can have false negatives so it's a bit unreliable at that age. I've got an appointment with my coeliac nurse in July - am going to have a chat with her then I think, to see what she thinks.

Thumbwitch Mon 04-Jun-12 00:41:47

out2lunch, no it's not necessarily obvious that a child is coeliac. Some people (and DottyDot sounds like one of those) can have hidden symptoms for years. Interestingly, I have a friend who was diagnosed eventually as a coeliac when she was 9yo (after being in an isolation unit in the tropical diseases unit for a bit!) - but when she was in her teens she rebelled against it. All her adult life, she has had hormonal "issues" - and gut problems but nothing so severe that she's felt the need to do anything about it. Terrible mood swings, PMT, all sorts of minor irritants - all of which went away when she went off the gluten again.

Dotty, I'm sorry to be rude to your DP but how the feck can she know it won't make any difference if you don't give it a go? 2w should be enough to see if the tiredness you mentioned and the dark circles start to reduce. I suppose I think it's easy enough to be on the diet because I've been GF for about 12y now and I'm used to it - I'd never go back, but my friend above has again gone back onto the gluten because she apparently "can't give up bread" hmm.
Anaemia and osteopaenia aren't particularly good longterm conditions - please just give your DS a trial and see how he goes.

out2lunch Mon 04-Jun-12 00:46:21

thanks thumbwitch v interesting must investigate further

HRHEightiesChick Mon 04-Jun-12 00:58:52

But lots of kids have long eyelashes, plus if you've got them, he's proably inherited that from you rather than through being coeliac IYSWIM. I would get him tested if you're worried but I think the eyelash thing sounds like a red herring. Whatever comes up on Google is no proof of it either.

This thread has me wondering, but I don't know if anyone can tell me at what age coeliac disease starts...DS2 was IUGR, tiny from 20wk scan, born on 0.4th centile, didn't start catching up until after 2yo and still, at 3yo only on 2nd centile for height (still around 0.4th for weight at approx 11kg). We have been seeing an endocrinologist at GOSH and we are discussing growth hormone therapy for him not year. No one has ever mentioned the possibility of him being coeliac...but he is very blond, blue eyed with incredible eyelashes and wide forehead....

Next..not not!

megandraper Thu 28-Feb-13 10:30:55

Coeliac can start at any age, Sleep. As I understand it, there are three factors involved - one genetic (i.e. you have to have a coeliac gene), and one environmental (lots of people have the coeliac gene, but only some of them react to gluten and are therefore coeliac). The third one is eating gluten - if you never eat gluten, you will never produce antibodies against it and so you 'can't' be coeliac. So babies that are not yet weaned and have had nothing but milk (breast or formula, which is gf I believe) won't yet be coeliac IYSWIM.

Medical opinion seems to be that there is an environmental trigger which kickstarts the gene, causing the body to produce antibodies to gluten. That trigger can be all sorts of things - catching a virus, physical trauma, mental stress, pregnancy/childbirth, etc. It's not fully understood yet.

I would definitely request a coeliac blood test for your DS - you can get false negatives for a child that young, but it is still worth trying.

How do I get a coeliac test for my dd?

She has huge food issues, is on the 9th centile for weight, blonde, blue eyes, longg eyelashes.

megandraper Thu 28-Feb-13 11:17:19

I wouldn't get too hung up on the blonde/blue eyes/long eyelashes bit, lots of non-coeliacs have that! And coeliac affects all races, not specifically Caucasians. But if you have concerns about food and weight then ask your GP to refer her for a coeliac blood test. You can also look at the Coeliac UK website which has information about getting diagnosed.

Thanks bedhopper, that's useful and interesting. Sounds unlikely that coeliac is DS's issue since he was EBF until about 7 months and didn't show any catch up growth up until then, its not as if he was climbing the chart then stopped when he was weaned, so chances are its something else restricting his growth, but I will mention it to the endocrinologist at next visit, no harm in testing and he has blood taken most times we go anyway, poor little chap sad.

megandraper Thu 28-Feb-13 12:41:17

Yes, can't do any harm to check when he's having blood taken anyway. Sorry you're going through this, I know what it's like to trek around doctors with small children, in pursuit of a diagnosis. I hope you get a clear result soon.

Charmingbaker Thu 28-Feb-13 18:02:40

Sleepwhenidie- both my DCs are coeliac, one was diagnosed at 20months, the other just before his 15th birthday, so it can kick it at any time, in fact most people don't develop symptoms until much older.
Poor growth was never a symptom for either of my DCs ( for both it was tummy troubles, loose stools and lethargy) however it can be a symptom. The first test is a straightforward blood test so it's definitely worth asking for.
By the way, I'd never heard of the long eyelash connection but both my boys have blond hair, blue eyes and long lashes!

Thanks charming DS has never really had any tummy troubles, all growth issues (lack thereof smile). He is also noticeably blonder and paler than his brother and sister and us, with incredible lashes..which is why I noticed this thread. As has been said, no harm in checking. Seems a weird coincidence with people though doesn't it!

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