Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease (sprue, gluten allergy) is an immune disorder related to ingestion of gluten that can develop in individuals with certain gene types, and is thought to occur in up to 1% of the population.  It causes chronic inflammation in the small intestine and can lead to a host of GI and non-GI symptoms.  GI symptoms include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.  Patients may also develop anemia, osteoporosis (thin bones), headaches, skin rashes and joint pains.

Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Celiac disease can be diagnosed with blood tests, but should be confirmed with a biopsy of the small intestine done at the time of an endoscopy.  Food allergy testing for gluten is not as specific as a direct blood test or a biopsy and should be viewed cautiously.  Some patients may have intolerance for gluten-containing products but not actually have celiac disease – your physician can help to distinguish these situations from one another.

Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac disease is treated by a life-long gluten-free diet.  This is a major lifestyle change for most patients and takes some time to get used to, but the number of available resources for celiac patients has skyrocketed over the last few years.  Consultation with a dietitian may also be helpful.

Please contact our Gastroenterology Specialists for diagnosis and treatment of Celiac Disease. To schedule a consultation, call 605.217.5500.