Celiac Disease Information
Each case of celiac disease can have different symptoms. If you feel you may have celiac disease please see your doctor. There are 200-300 symptoms associated with Celiac Disease. Some people are asymptomatic and are only diagnosed after being screened due to a relative having Celiac Disease. Some common symptoms include:
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Diarrhea and/or constipation (not as common in children)
- Bone or joint pain
- Weight loss
- Bloating, gas, abdominal cramping
- Behavior changes, depression
- Infertility and/or Miscarriages
- Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) (more information below)
People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten. Gluten is in foods which contain wheat, rye, barley or any of their derivatives (such as malt). Oats can be consumed if they are special Gluten Free Oats. However, it is believed by many that upon diagnosis oats should be completely avoided until villous atrophy has resolved. This is a question for you and your doctor to discuss. Gluten may be found in breading, crutons, marinades, malt, soy sauce, pasta, broth, lipsticks, modeling doughs (such as Play-doh brand), gravies, etc...
You CAN eat corn, rice, potato, corn starch and any other foods that do not contain wheat, rye, barley and regular (non-GF) oats. See our Gluten Free Lifestyle page for more details. Additionally, it is important to visit a Registered Dietitian skilled in Celiac Disease care to learn how to manage your new gluten free diet. Please refer to our Gluten Free section for more details.
Because a strict gluten free diet is very difficult to manage, typically your doctor will ask you to have tests run yearly to monitor the Celiac antibodies to detect unsuspected intake of gluten in your diet. Some doctors will monitor A, D, E, and K vitamin levels for awhile after diagnosis in addition to Iron depending upon the deficiencies you showed at diagnosis. On a strict gluten free diet, many people start to feel better very soon. Children seem to heal faster than adults. It could take adults a year or longer for the villi to heal. After diagnosis, it is important to talk to your doctor about what monitoring is necessary and to tell your doctor about how you feel. Some people are additionally lactose intolerant at diagnosis - this sometimes goes away as the patient heals.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a very itchy skin rash which usually causes bumps and blisters on the elbow, knees, back and buttocks. The rash is typically symmetrical from the right to the left side of the body and can also look like eczema. Instead of blisters and bumps, some people have scratches and skin erosions. To confirm diagnosis, a doctor will biopsy the skin lesion and possibly also blood tests. A person with DH, like Celiac Disease, cannot eat gluten. According to the United States National Institute of Health, approximately 25% of people with Celiac Disease also have DH. DH is also an autoimmune disorder. Dapsone is a medication prescribed by the doctor to ease the skin symptoms. Like Celiac Disease, a strict lifelong Gluten Free diet must be followed with DH.
Links for Dermatitis Herpetiformis Information: