Celiac Disease : How to check if you have Celiac Disease ?


Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye.

If you have celiac disease, eating gluten causes an immune response in your small intestine. This reaction causes certain nutrients to not be absorbed (malabsorption) and over time wears away the lining of your small intestine. Diarrhoea, tiredness, weight loss, bloating, and anaemia are common symptoms of intestinal damage and can have serious repercussions.

In addition to generating the symptoms experienced in adults, malabsorption in children can impede growth and development.

Although there is no known treatment for celiac disease, most patients find that adhering to a strict gluten-free diet can help control their symptoms and encourage intestinal recovery.


Celiac disease may be caused by your genes, consuming gluten-containing foods, and other things, but the exact reason is unknown. Additionally, infant feeding practices, gastrointestinal illnesses, and gut microbes may be involved. After an operation, a pregnancy, delivery, a viral infection, or a period of intense mental stress, celiac disease can occasionally become active.

The fine, hair-like projections (villi) that line the small intestine are harmed when the body's immune system overreacts to gluten in the diet. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are absorbed by villi from the food you ingest. No matter how much you eat, you can not obtain enough nutrients if your villi is destroyed.

How to check if you have Celiac Disease?

If you experience diarrhoea or stomach pain for more than two weeks, see a doctor. If your child has a potbelly, foul-smelling, bulky faeces, is pale, agitated, not growing, or is failing to thrive, you should take them to the doctor.

Before attempting a gluten-free diet, make sure to check with your doctor. Before getting tested for celiac disease, cutting back on your intake of gluten has the potential to alter the findings.

Celiac disease runs in families. Ask your doctor if you should be checked if someone in your family has the disorder. If you or a member of your family has a risk factor for celiac diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, talk to your doctor about being tested.

Risk Factors

People who have the following tend to be more susceptible to celiac disease:

  • A family member suffering from herpes
  • Herpetiformis or celiac illness
  • Diabetes type 1
  • Turner syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Thyroid autoimmune disease
  • Lymphocytic or collagenous colitis, or microscopic colitis
  • Addison's illness


Children and adults may experience different celiac disease signs and symptoms, which might vary substantially. Adults' digestive warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight
  • Gas and bloating
  • Continent pain
  • Nausea and diarrhoea
  • Constipation

The following signs and symptoms are present in more than 50% of individuals with celiac disease but are not connected to the digestive system:

  • Anaemia, mainly caused by a lack of iron
  • Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density, or osteomalacia, a weakening of the bone
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, a skin rash that is itchy and blistery
  • Oral sores
  • Weariness and headaches
  • A damaged nervous system that may cause tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, balance issues, and cognitive decline
  • Aching joints
  • Spleen's decreased ability to function (hyposplenism)


Digestive issues in children with celiac disease are more prevalent than in adults and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Abdominal bloating 
  • Constipation
  • Gas 
  • Light-coloured, pungent stools

The consequences of inadequate nutrition absorption might be:

  • Babies' failure to thrive
  • Erosion of the tooth enamel
  • Loss of weight
  • Anaemia
  • Irritability
  • Short height
  • Postponed puberty
  • Neurological signs such as cognitive difficulties, headaches, poor motor coordination, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and seizures
  • Herpetiform dermatitis
  • This red, inflamed skin condition can be brought on by gluten intolerance.
  • The locations for the rash are the elbows, knees, chest, scalp, and buttocks. Although the skin condition may not result in digestive symptoms, it is frequently linked to small intestinal lining abnormalities that are analogous to those of celiac disease.

In order to manage the rash, medical professionals treat dermatitis herpetiformis with a gluten-free diet, medication, or both.


Celiac disease cannot be avoided. A stringent gluten-free diet, however, can limit and even reverse the damage to the small intestine. A crucial component of your  treatment and security is follow-up care.


The only treatment for celiac disease is a rigorous, permanent gluten-free diet. In addition to wheat, the following foods contain gluten:

  • Barley 
  • Bulgur
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Malted rye, gramme flour, and semolina
  • Wheat in the shape of spelt
  • Triticale

You can get assistance from a dietician who specialises in celiac disease in creating a nutritious gluten-free diet. Even if you do not have any indications or symptoms from gluten in your diet, even minimal quantities might be harmful.

Foods, pharmaceuticals, and nonfood items can all contain gluten, including:

  • Altered food starch, food stabilisers, and preservatives
  • Medication, both prescribed and over-the-counter
  • Mineral and vitamin supplements
  • Nutritional and herbal supplements
  • Lipstick items
  • Mouthwash and toothpaste
  • Eucharistic wafers
  • Ink and envelope glue
  • Toy dough
  • The inflammation in your body will eventually go down if you stop eating gluten.
  • The small intestine, results in improved health and eventual recovery. Children often recover faster than adults do.

Mineral and vitamin supplements

If you have significant nutritional deficiencies or anaemia, your doctor or dietician may advise you to take supplements, such as:

  • Copper
  • Folate Iron
  • B-12 vitamin
  • Vitamins D, K, and Zinc

Most vitamins and supplements are taken orally as pills. Your doctor may inject vitamins if your digestive system has difficulties absorbing them.

Supplied care

Regular medical checkups can ensure your symptoms have improved since switching to a gluten-free diet. Blood tests will be used by your doctor to track your reaction.

A gluten-free diet will often help celiac disease patients' small intestines recover. For a child, this requires three to sixty days. Complete recovery may take several years for adults.

You may require an endoscopy with biopsies if your symptoms persist or if they come back in order to establish whether your gut has healed.

Drugs that reduce intestinal inflammation

Your doctor might advise using steroids to reduce inflammation if your small intestine is significantly damaged or you have celiac disease that does not respond to treatment. While the intestines recover, steroids can help with severe celiac disease symptoms.

Budesonide (Entocort EC, Uceris) or azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) may also be utilised.

Treating herpetic dermatitis

Your doctor could advise a gluten-free diet and an oral medicine like Dapsone if you develop this skin rash. You will require routine blood testing if you use Dapsone.

Continuing celiac disease

Your small intestine will not repair itself if you have celiac disease that is refractory. You will then probably need to be assessed in a specialised facility. There is no documented cure for the dangerous condition known as refractory celiac disease.

Complications of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can result in:

Malnutrition. If your small intestine can not absorb enough nutrition, this happens. Anaemia and weight loss can result from malnutrition. Malnutrition in children can result in small height and sluggish development.

Bone thinning. Inadequate absorption of calcium and vitamin D can cause osteomalacia, or rickets, in children, and osteoporosis, or a decrease in bone density, in adults.

Miscarriage and infertility. Obstacles to reproduction can be exacerbated by vitamin D and calcium malabsorption.

Intolerance to lactose. You may get diarrhoea and stomach pain after consuming lactose-containing dairy products if your small intestine has been damaged. You might be able to accept dairy products once again when your intestines have recovered.

Cancer. Celiac disease sufferers who do not adhere to a gluten-free diet increase the chance of acquiring many cancers, such as small bowel and intestinal lymphoma.

Neurological issues. Some celiac disease sufferers might experience seizures or peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves in the hands and feet.

Celiac disease that is not responding

Some celiac disease sufferers do not benefit from what they believe to be a gluten-free diet. Gluten contamination of the diet frequently causes a celiac disease that does not respond. Your ability to completely eliminate gluten can be improved by working with a dietician.

Those who have celiac disease that is not responding may:

  • Small intestinal bacteria (bacterial overgrowth)
  • Minuscule colitis
  • Pancreatic insufficiency, or inadequate pancreatic function
  • Rheumatoid bowel syndrome
  • Lactose, a sugar present in dairy products, is difficult to digest, table
  • Sugar (sucrose), or fructose, a kind of sugar included in honey and fruits

Continuing celiac disease

The intestinal damage caused by celiac disease occasionally may not heal with a rigorous gluten-free diet. Refractory celiac disease is what it is. You may require additional testing to check for other causes of your symptoms if they persist after six months to a year of adhering to a gluten-free diet. 


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Page last reviewed: May 23, 2023

Next review due: May 23, 2025

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