Clearly identifying the symptoms of celiac disease is difficult. Celiac disease is a reaction by the body’s immune system to food that has gluten in it and causes damage to the small intestine. Even the smallest amount of gluten may give a serious reaction.
Signs of the disease range from very mild to serious. It is not straightforward to diagnose because the symptoms are varied. In men or women, symptoms may be constipation, diarrhea, bloating and excessive wind, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. However, these symptoms may occur in men and women who do not have celiac disease.
Celiac disease has other symptoms that are equally hard to use for a diagnosis such as tiredness, anemia, headaches and bone pain and depression, mouth ulcers, problems with tooth enamel, hair loss and weight loss. Although weight loss is not always, present. There are some symptoms that stand out such as dermatitis herpetiformis, or DH, which are small, itchy, blistering rashes that occur on the knees, elbows, back of neck, buttocks and back.
If gluten is eaten over time and celiac disease is undiagnosed, it may cause osteoporosis, malnutr ition and lactose intolerance. These are due to the failure of the intestine to take up essential vitamins and minerals.
Children may show symptoms when weaned on to gluten. They may have diarrhea, bulky stools, vomiting and a swollen stomach. In addition, they may have a poor appetite and thin arm and leg muscles.
The symptoms of celiac disease can be mild or serious. There is no medicine that can be taken to stop the immune system attacking the intestine. The only way to deal with the disease is to have a lifelong diet of gluten free foods. These will help to stop the autoimmune reaction to gluten and allow the intestine to heal.