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Article: What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease? - Novamed (Europe) ltd

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered when a small intestine becomes unable to absorb nutrients from food due to an abnormality in the body's immune system. Coeliac disease is common worldwide, and people who have it often present with recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss. What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

Coeliac Disease can be diagnosed by blood tests, such as screening for anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies or bowel biopsy. The symptoms of coeliac disease usually occur before your child starts to show any signs of developmental delay, failure to thrive and behavioural changes, so it may not be apparent at first.

Coeliac disease's most common signs and symptoms are diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and poor growth. However, in some cases can be missed or misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance or inflammatory bowel disease.

The symptoms of coeliac disease vary between patients and may even change over time. It's essential to see your GP if you have any concerns so they can make the correct diagnosis with a specialist.

These are the most common symptoms:

Abdominal pain is one of the hallmarks of coeliac disease, characterised by pain in the middle of your abdomen (tummy). The pain may sometimes spread to your lower back.

Diarrhoea: This is the most common and recognisable symptom of coeliac disease. It is a watery discharge of mucus and/or blood that may sometimes have a greasy look. It can be quite severe, leading to dehydration and weight loss.

Gluten intolerance means when you eat foods with wheat or rye in them, you will feel an intense reaction. You may also experience diarrhoea or even vomiting when you eat these foods.

Weight loss can happen if your diet lacks vital nutrients for growth or if your digestive system is unduly sensitive to foods such as wheat or too much fat. It can also be caused by excessive exercise – particularly in children.

Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) may be a sign of coeliac disease. It can also be caused by other digestive system conditions or neurological disorders.

Mouth ulcers can appear inside your mouth or on the surface of the tongue and are caused by a lack of specific vitamins and minerals.

Iron-deficiency anaemia can occur because the body is not absorbing iron effectively. Anaemia has a range of symptoms, including feeling constantly tired, pale skin and a rapid heartbeat when exercising.

This list may vary, but you must contact your doctor if you have any concerns. It's also essential to ask your GP or a dietician or nutritionist for advice on the right foods and when to eat them properly.

If you do not have coeliac disease, we recommend checking out our article on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This can also cause some of the same symptoms as a coeliac disease but is caused by different bacteria than what causes coeliac disease.

For more information on the coeliac disease or if you want to know more about the symptoms, please feel free to contact us at

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