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Coeliac Disease Symptoms

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Celiac disease affects the small intestines and the symptoms are usually brought about by the ingestion of gluten.

The presentation of celiac disease may be varied with a wide range of severity of the symptoms. This makes diagnosis a challenge based on symptoms alone. Research suggests that diagnosis usually takes around 10 years after the appearance of first symptoms.

For example, reports suggest that celiac disease may be detected in adults presenting with iron-deficiency anaemia and in adults presenting with low bone-mineral density.

The prevalence of celiac disease in people with iron-deficiency anaemia ranges from 2.3 to 15% and the prevalence of celiac disease in people with low bone mineral density ranges from 0 to 3%.

General symptoms of celiac disease

Broadly found the symptoms and signs of celiac disease include:–

  • Iron-deficiency anaemia and other or unspecified anaemia
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal distension/bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation and irregular bowel habits
  • Short stature/growth failure and failure to thrive
  • Irritability, mood swings and depression/bipolar disorder
  • Alopecia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Recurrent aphthous stomatitis
  • Amenorrhoea/recurrent abortion and infertility
  • Hypertransaminaseaemia and abnormal liver biochemistry

Associated features and diseases

There are several associated features and diseases as well. These include:-

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Liver disorders
  • Microscopic colitis
  • Rheumatological disorders including Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease and Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Type 1 diabetes – the prevalence of celiac disease in people with type 1 diabetes is 1.4 to 8.2% in children, 0.3 to 11.3% in adults and 1.7 to 5.7% in combined child and adult populations.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Down syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Infertility
  • Lymphoid malignancy
  • Autoimmune Myocarditis
  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Turner syndrome
  • Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Polyneuropathy

Reviewed by , BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2013

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