What are the symptoms of celiac?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 19, 2016
Makel asked...

What are the symtoms of celiac?


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that can affect children and adults. When people affected by celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, the immune system is activated causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the digestive tract. Food is not able to be properly digested and absorbed resulting in many nutritional deficiencies. Among adults and children symptoms are extremely varied, often resembling other digestive disorders, but they may also present as non digestive issues such as joint pain, fatigue or migraines. This can make it a challenge to diagnose. It is helpful to keep a journal of symptoms for a few weeks prior to any medical check up.
Children may present with slowed growth, vomiting, abdominal bloating and behavior changes. More commonly however the symptoms are clues that you might expect from the improper digestion and absorption of foods and include the following:

  1. Recurrent bloating
  2. Gas
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Fatty foul smelling stools that appear pale in color
  5. Lactose intolerance
  6. Chronic diarrhea and/or constipation
  7. Unexplained weight loss or anemia
  8. Missed menstrual periods
  9. Behavior changes/Irritability/Depression
  10. Delayed growth
  11. Joint pain
  12. Osteoporosis due to vitamin D malabsorption
  13. Anemia

Celiac disease is often inherited but may be triggered by traumatic events such a surgery, pregnancy or extreme stress. Left untreated the consequences are serious, however with the elimination of gluten containing foods from the diet, the body is usually able to heal and people often begin to feel better in a manner of weeks.