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Digestive Health and Wellness

Actress Leigh-Allyn Baker Dishes on Her Son’s Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Photo: Courtesy of Leigh-Allyn Baker

When he was just 22 months old, Baker’s youngest son was diagnosed with the painful disease. “I just wish I would have followed my instincts sooner,” she says as she recalls a difficult time for her entire family. “I’m just thankful that my inner voice is loud and persistent.”

Let’s rewind to the time when her son’s symptoms first showed up. After eating any type of gluten, he would suffer from constipation followed by bloody, loose stools, and sometimes his stools were like sand in his diapers, which were dead villi (part of the intestinal lining). He was confused and irritable, and he suffered from cognitive delays. Once his teeth started coming in, the top four front teeth showed signs of the celiac line.

Mother’s intuition 

His reactions to gluten were so severe and obvious that Baker simply couldn’t ignore them. Although her initial pediatrician didn’t see the celiac connection, Baker trusted her own mother’s intuition and sought the advice of other doctors who confirmed her suspicions.

“All of this has taught me to literally listen to my gut and the guts of my children,” she says confidently. “Parents know their children better than any doctor ever will. And a good doctor will agree with that notion and listen!”

Since her son’s diagnosis three years ago, Baker and her two boys have gone gluten-free. She has noticed a drastic change in their health and behavior, saying that her youngest is a “happy, healthy little boy now.”

Happy and healthy

Now at the age of 5, Baker’s youngest is in pre-kindergarten and shares his disease and gluten-free lifestyle with several of his 27 classmates. “My husband and I tell our children that everyone’s body is different, and responds differently to each food ingredient,” Baker says. “Some foods are a thumbs-up and some foods are a thumbs-down. Gluten, soy, dairy and artificial colors are a thumbs down for our family.”

We give Baker a big thumbs-up for trusting her gut.

Karine Bengualid, [email protected]

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