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Upcoming Events

February 28, 2015
Free Celiac Blood Screening

For more info contact:
Carrie Ek, RD 

Donate to the Celiac Center.

Past Events

Welcome to the Celiac Disease Center

Mackenzie is now gluten-free and feeling 100% better after battling digestive problems for years due to celiac disease.

Celiac disease in children affects the whole family. The Advocate Children’s Hospital celiac center is the only comprehensive center dedicated to treatment of celiac disease in the northwest suburbs. Celiac disease is one of the most common inherited autoimmune diseases.

The celiac center is dedicated to providing full-service medical care for the child and family close to home.

Our pediatric gastroenterologist specializes in celiac disease diagnosis and ongoing medical care.

What are celiac disease symptoms?

  • Poor growth: failure to thrive and/or short stature
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach upset
  • Some people have no symptoms at all. This is called “silent celiac disease."

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

  • A simple blood test is the first step
  • If the blood test is positive an intestinal biopsy is the “gold standard." The biopsy is a relatively short and simple test.
Gluten-Free Cooking Class

What is the treatment for celiac disease in children?

The gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment for celiac disease.

The gluten-free diet is a very effective treatment; however, it can be very complex and challenging for families, especially at first.

Gluten is found in food containing wheat, rye and barley.  This includes breads, pretzels, pasta and most breakfast cereals.  Naturally gluten-free foods include rice, potatoes, corn, plain meats, fruits and vegetables.  See the quick start diet for basics.

Detailed nutrition counseling is strongly recommended.  For most families, eating gluten-free is a major change for the entire family.  Nutrition counseling includes label reading, cross-contact at home, restaurant eating as well as correcting nutrition deficiencies and growth issues.

Our nutritionist specializes in celiac disease and will walk families through the gluten-free diet step by step.

            Gluten-Free Halloween Open House 2014
Why Choose Our Celiac Center?
  • Patient-centered approach, partnering with patients and families to provide care.
  • We are staffed by a comprehensive, compassionate team including pediatric gastroenterologist and registered dietitian/nutritionist specializing in celiac disease.
  • Individualized nutrition counseling for the entire family.
  • Gluten-free diet classes to address all aspects of the diet including, restaurant eating, label reading, school lunch, modifying the family kitchen.
  • Ongoing community outreach including partnering with celiac support groups and work with local restaurants and schools.
Services and Treatment
  • Diagnostic testing: We provide the most accurate tests for celiac disease including antibody testing and endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Follow-up care
  • Nutrition education on the gluten-free diet for the entire family as well as related nutrition issues
Patient Education

The primary treatment for celiac disease is the gluten-free diet. We will make sure the parents and children have a thorough understanding of all aspects of this complex diet. We help children navigate school lunches, social events and become more independent with the diet as they grow older.

Once established on the gluten-free diet, children can live full, healthy lives.

Meet Our Care Team

The Celiac Center of Advocate Children's Hospital includes:

Dr. Esperanza Garcia-Alvarez
Medical Director
Pediatric Gastroenterologist


Carrie Ek, RD, LDN
Registered Dietician/Nutritionist 
Coordinator, Celiac Center