Symptoms of Celiac Disease

celiac disease symptoms

Gluten is a protein that is found in most grain products, and those with Celiac disease have higher than normal levels of antibodies, or infection-fighting cells, that attack gluten. When someone with Celiac disease ingests gluten ­­– a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley – their body views the gluten as a foreign invader. The body then attacks the small intestine, limiting the number of nutrients a person absorbs from their food. Celiac disease is genetic, and as many as 1 in 133 Americans may have the condition. Understanding of the celiac disease symptoms is essential for the proper diagnosis of the condition.

Celiac Disease Risk Factors

Some people are at a higher risk of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, including:

  • People with European ancestors
  • Caucasians
  • People with type 1 diabetes
  • People with Down Syndrome
  • People with autoimmune disorders
  • People who are infertile
  • People who are pregnant
  • People with irritable bowel syndrome

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Adults

Celiac disease is often a diagnosis of elimination; only blood work or a biopsy performed by your doctor can determine if you have Celiac disease. Celiac disease shares symptoms with many other chronic digestive issues, including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and diverticulitis. Some common symptoms of Celiac disease include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent flatulence
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach and muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Anemia
  • Missed periods
  • Infertility
  • Numbness and tingling in the legs
  • Painful, itchy skin rash
  • Weak bones
  • Enamel loss

Some people who have Celiac disease may have no symptoms at all.

Celiac Symptoms in Children

Infants and young children are likely to experience digestive problems like abdominal bloating and pain, gas, and/or foul-smelling stools. Additional symptoms can include the following:

  • Chronic diarrhea, which can be bloody
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Neurological symptoms including learning disabilities, ADHD, headaches, lack of muscle coordination, and seizures
  • Tooth enamel damage
  • Anemia
  • Growth problems that include not growing as expected or short stature
  • Weight loss

When to See Your Doctor about Celiac Disease Symptoms

If you’re experiencing a recurrence of these symptoms, see your doctor. He or she will likely suggest removing gluten entirely from your diet. You may find this to be rather difficult, as gluten is present in many foods in the Western diet. However, once you stop eating foods containing gluten, you may notice your symptoms clear up in as little as three days. Within three to six months, your small intestine should fully heal. Ceasing the intake of gluten is the only treatment for Celiac disease.



Related Posts