How Often Should I Have a Colonoscopy with Celiac?

  • Medical Author:
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Ask the experts

How often should a person with celiac sprue have a colonoscopy?

Doctor's response

Adults with celiac sprue have a several-fold higher than normal risk of developing lymphomas (cancers of the lymph glands) in the small intestine as well as elsewhere. They also have a higher risk of small intestinal and, to a lesser degree, of esophageal carcinomas (cancers of the inner lining of the intestine and esophagus, respectively). Patients with celiac sprue also may develop microscopic colitis that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding.

I am unaware of any increased risk of colon cancer in patients with celiac sprue. Therefore, patients with celiac sprue without symptoms of colon cancer (rectal bleeding, new constipation, diarrhea or abdominal pain) and without a family history of colon cancer or polyps should undergo screening colonoscopies like other healthy adults.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Pathogenesis, epidemiology, and clinical manifestations of celiac disease in adults"

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Reviewed on 7/24/2017