What are the symptoms of celiac disease to know if I am celiac?

It is very usual to confuse the celiac with the gluten intolerance. And is that while gluten intolerance is a reaction caused by a food that contains gluten that does not affect the immune system or cause tissue damage but does cause gastrointestinal symptoms, in the case of celiac disease it consists of a intestinal disease, which affects genetically predisposed individuals when they consume and eat foods that contain gluten.

That is to say, Celiac disease is a permanent gluten intolerance, but unlike only intolerance, when celiac disease occurs, we are faced with a systemic disorder that not only affects the intestine, it is mediated by the immune system in genetically predisposed individuals and causes atrophy of the villi of the small intestine which affects the ability to absorb the nutrients that we obtain through food.

This means that the gluten intake in people who are celiac, even in a very small amount, causes an immune reaction in the small intestine which in turn causes chronic inflammation, in addition to other symptoms.

We must also differentiate the gluten allergy, which is a response of the immune system (that is, it is an immune response of the organism), considering food with gluten as harmful to the body, when evidently the reality is that it is not. Its main difference is that this improves with the passage of time, so that after a few years the person can return to consume foods containing gluten.

What symptoms appear when you are celiac?

Did you know that, in fact, it is stimulated that the number of patients with celiac disease but undiagnosed can reach 75%? This is due to the symptoms tend to appear slowly and heterogeneously, especially if we compare them with gluten allergy. On the other hand, these symptoms may vary depending on the age you have.

As a general rule, the symptomatology of celiac disease covers chronic diarrhea, lack of appetite, prominent abdomen, white and frequent bowel movements, pallor, widespread weakness, decreased adipose tissue Y changes in character.

The symptoms of celiac disease according to age

  • In babies and children: diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, growth retardation, weight loss, brittle hair, abdominal distension, asthenia, irritability, leukopenia, coagulopathies, defects in tooth enamel, autism, hyperactivity, dyslexia and thrombocytosis.
  • In adolescence: abdominal pain, malabsorptive diarrhea, constipation, iron deficiency anemia, hepatitis, bloating, atopic dermatitis, headache, epilepsy, pubertal growth retardation, late menarche, juvenile chronic arthritis, short stature.
  • Adult: constipation, irritable bowel, early menopause, ataxia, peripheral neuropathies, epilepsy, infertility and miscarriages, irritability, depression, asthenia, loss of appetite, weight loss, arthritis, fractures and iron deficiency anemia.

What do I do if I have any symptoms or I think I am celiac?

Celiac disease can manifest itself in the second half of the first year of life, which is the ideal time when foods containing wheat are included in the infant diet.

However, in most cases the celiac disease remains undiagnosed, or is not detected until quite advanced ages, since in many moments it can occur as an asymptomatic disease.

Thus, it is best to go to your general practitioner, which will inquire about the symptoms and prescribe appointment with the most appropriate medical specialist. Or go directly to the Digestive specialist's office.

Regarding the diagnosis, although it is possible to perform a blood test as a way to have a first diagnosis of gluten intolerance, for a definitive diagnosis it is essential to perform an intestinal biopsy to help determine the intestinal villi atrophy.

Images | iStock / Jerine Lay This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesFood intolerances

Celiac Disease Symptom Checklist (January 2021)