Teens managing (or not in this case) their own health conditions

(9 Posts)
Songofsixpence Fri 01-Apr-16 12:56:53

How do you tackle it?

DD is 14 and has coeliac disease. She was diagnosed at 8 and has always been brilliant about it and as she's got older has been reading labels, watching what she's eating, I've always got her involved with cooking and baking and generally looking after her own diet.

However, the last 6 months or so she's got very fed up with it and has eaten a fair amount of food with gluten in - mostly when out and about, at school, etc, but I've also found wrappers in her room for stuff like chocolate brownies that she's bought home

Obviously she's the one suffering the immediate consequences of this herself, but I am concerned about the long term issues.

She's fed up with it all I think, and just wants to grab a burger/whatever like the rest of her mates.

The symptoms of her eating gluten aren't quite as bad as they used to be so I think she's got a bit blasé about it all

Anyone else had issues like this?

Thanks!

Cagliostro Fri 01-Apr-16 13:13:29

My DSD is also a coeliac, diagnosed around the same age. She does similar sad not to such an extent I think (obviously we don't know for sure as she lives with her mum) but she also makes light of eating for example her old favourite gluten-containing chocolate quite regularly. She doesn't get the pain though, unlike DH, so I do think that makes her more able to ignore the long term consequences. She just says she really misses eating them sad

Does she know about the more worrying end of the possible long term implications of ignoring the diet? The link with an increased risk of bowel cancer?

I really hope it's a phase. On the face of it, it could just be a simple 'teen rebelling against parents' type thing? It may feel like a 'safer' way of taking risks than drugs or alcohol etc. And of course the fact that nobody wants to have a restricted diet, and at an age where she is probably wanting to go out with friends, and having to miss out when they all order pizza or whatever, or having to ask for something different like a burger without a bun. It's horrible to feel different in that way. I hope her friends are understanding of it?

Is she happy generally? Is she deliberately making herself feel pain? It is very unlikely but I think sometimes things like this are a way of saying 'I'm not ok' IYSWIM?

I'm kind of thinking aloud here sorry as I really have no answers sad you can't control what a teen eats so I guess it's just a case of talking her through it and hoping that she starts making the right choices herself.

Songofsixpence Fri 01-Apr-16 13:28:46

Thanks!

I'm hoping its a phase too.

She's generally quite happy, we have a pretty good relationship so far and she's happy to talk to me, so I don't think there are any deeper issues other than she's just really fed up with the inconvenience, not being able to just grab a pizza with her mates, being different

She's mostly happy to eat GF stuff at home - I bake a lot, we bought a bread maker as she hated the GF bread, we cook from scratch and all eat together, she's always managed it really well

She does know all the long term issues with continuing to eat gluten, but I think that because the immediate consequences aren't quite as bad as they were when she was first diagnosed she finds it easy to over look them if that makes sense.

scotsgirl64 Fri 01-Apr-16 18:37:50

thankfully the risk of bowel cancer is extremely small, however long term effect of ignoring her coeliac disease would be malnutrition and malabsorption of minerals....esp more so as she will be menstruating so would be more prone to anaemia....can she speak to a dietician to reinforce importance of sticking to diet?...or is their a support group she could be put in touch with?

Songofsixpence Sat 02-Apr-16 07:51:12

Thanks.

We don't see the dietician anymore, I'll get the GP to re-refer us.

We've not long had a check up with the GP, who told her off a bit and reinforced the long term effects if she continued to eat gluten but she's not really taken it on board

I was talking to a friend last night who has a son a bit older with diabetes and she said that he went through a similar thing around the same age - ignoring it, not testing his blood like he should, so I wonder if it's a bit of an age/phase thing

It was easy when she was younger, but I have so little control these days, I hate seeing her making herself ill

MrsFionaCharming Thu 07-Apr-16 17:56:56

Rebelling like this is really common in teenagers with diabetes, I imagine it is for other conditions as well.

A friend of mine with diabetes was like that, and the more her parents pushed her to take care of herself, the more she rebelled. She sadly died age 20.

Whilst I don't think the effects of coeliac are quite so severe, I think I'd be tempted to let her get on with it, in hopes she gets it out of her system and starts to take some responsibility for her self.

Shallishanti Thu 07-Apr-16 18:03:35

I think this is very common
is there a support group that has a teenager's forum where they can all moan about how unfair it is (I agree, it is unfair)
Or is there a nurse who helps manage the condition, maybe your daughter could go and see her by herself, to give her a bit more ownership?
My DD has very bad eczema and peanut allergy, she always managed the peanut allergy well- maybe because we are vegetarian she had to be careful when eating out anyway- but she didn't manage the eczema well and that was awful. But since about 19 years I guess she has managed it very well.

Shallishanti Thu 07-Apr-16 18:04:40

I don't think being 'told off' by the GP is very helpful!

BaronessEllaSaturday Thu 07-Apr-16 18:11:28

Roughly sixty years ago my mum rebelled in exactly the same way. It did pass thankfully and she is still going strong. She says she had to learn for herself what it meant rather than just being this abstract thing she was told she suffered from, she also says it was partly because it was hard being different as a teen and she just wanted to fit in.

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