Commonly known as gluten intolerance, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the intake of gluten leads to injury in the small intestine. Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it is estimated that 1 in 100 individuals worldwide will be affected by this disease.
Celiac disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, presenting with an array of more 200 symptoms, with digestive symptoms typically appearing more in children than adults. And notably, some people may experience no symptoms at all. Generally, common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Bloating or gas
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
A blood test is typically performed to detect celiac disease, and the patient must have consumed gluten for a period of time prior to testing. If the results suggest you may have celiac, a physician will recommend a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of celiac typically requires a modification in diet that eliminates gluten entirely. Medications, along with proper instruction from your gastroenterologist, can help make up for lost nutrients that gluten may provide. Fortunately, today there are many options for gluten-free eating.
If you think you could be experiencing a reaction to gluten, try removing it from your diet and see if you notice any change in symptoms. Please contact us to request an appointment with one of our GI doctors if symptoms persist or to confirm a diagnosis.