Celiac Disease - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of celiac disease?

Diarrhea and weight loss because of malabsorption are the classic symptoms of celiac disease, but they occur in less than one-half of people with the disease. The symptoms vary widely in presentation and intensity. Often the symptoms are not related to the bowel function, but instead are due to the consequences of chronic malabsorption of vitamins and minerals (for example, people who complain of weakness, fatigue, and are anemic because they cannot absorb iron in the diet).

Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Numbness and tingling (paresthesia) of the hands and feet
  • Osteoporosis due to decreased absorption of calcium and vitamin D
  • Skin rash
  • Abdominal pain
  • GERD and heartburn

Infants and children may have even less specific symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, failure to thrive, and developmental delays.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Judy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 11

I was diagnosed with IBS 22 yrs ago and I have been hospitalized three times with bad bouts of diarrhea and only told I had to learn to live with it. March this year I got an appointment to go for a scan and I casually asked the nurse attending why I was having this scan and she said to me that I was newly diagnosed with celiac disease which was news to me. Since I have been on a gluten free diet I have been feeling much better I have had a few setbacks, but nothing near like what I was like when I was undiagnosed. I just wished that I could have been told earlier and I could have had a better quality of life as I was often very ill.

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 11

I have Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in my salivary gland, and as a routine staging procedure because of occasional acid reflux, I had an endoscopy to check for signs of lymphoma in my stomach. The doctor found signs of celiac disease in my small intestine and did a biopsy. My only symptoms are fatigue and weight loss. I am 41 years old and have been on a gluten-free diet for five days.

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