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Common symptoms of celiac disease

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  • Although celiac disease usually leads to major damage in the small intestine, individuals with the condition may still experience symptoms that aren’t related to the digestive system
  • Celiac disease patients might also have dermatitis herpetiformis, a condition wherein the skin becomes itchy and develops blisters, causing rashes on the elbows, knees, torso, scalp and buttocks

Here are the common digestive symptoms of celiac disease that you should watch out for:1,2,3

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating and gas

Although celiac disease usually leads to major damage in the small intestine,4 individuals with the condition may still experience symptoms that aren’t related to the digestive system. These include:5,6,7

  • Anemia because of iron deficiency
  • Osteoporosis or loss of bone density
  • Osteomalacia or softening of the bones
  • Dental enamel damage
  • Mouth ulcers or canker sores
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Hyposplenism or decreased functioning of the spleen
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Liver and biliary tract disorders, such as transaminitis and fatty liver
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, Mayo Clinic notes that patients may experience nervous system disorders such as lack of muscle coordination, seizure and cognitive impairment.8

This devastating skin condition can manifest, too

Celiac disease patients might develop dermatitis herpetiformis,9 a condition wherein the skin becomes itchy and develops blisters, resulting in rashes on the elbows, knees, torso, scalp, buttocks, groin and face.10 These rashes may resemble eczema.11

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, dermatitis herpetiformis affects around 10% of people with celiac disease. Individuals with this skin condition are less likely to experience digestive symptoms of celiac disease.12

Watch out for these celiac disease complications

Once you notice the hallmark symptoms of celiac disease, consult a physician immediately because you may be at risk of the following complications if you remain untreated:13

  • Malnutrition — Damage to the small intestine results in reduced absorption (or malabsorption) of nutrients, potentially leading to iron deficiency anemia and weight loss.
  • Loss of calcium and bone density — When the small intestine cannot absorb enough calcium and vitamin D, the risk for osteoporosis and other bone diseases increases.
  • Infertility and miscarriage — Reproductive system issues might happen due to malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Lactose intolerance — Even though they don’t have gluten, dairy products could cause abdominal pain and diarrhea because they contain lactose. Your body may tolerate these products again once the small intestine has healed.
  • Higher risk for cancer — Failure to maintain a gluten-free diet can lead to a higher risk for some types of cancer, such as intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.
  • Neurological problems — Patients with celiac disease might develop neurological problems like seizures or peripheral neuropathy, a disease of the nerves that lead to the hands and the feet.

MORE ABOUT CELIAC DISEASE

Celiac Disease: Introduction

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease In Children

Celiac Disease Causes

Celiac Disease Types

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac Disease Prevention

Celiac Disease Diet

Celiac Disease FAQ

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