Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease symptoms vary widely among those people who test positive for the genetic marker. Some people with celiac disease report no symptoms at all. Others experience severe digestive issues that mimic other diseases, making diagnoses difficult. Note what one doctor said about this disease:

“Celiac disease is one of the great mimics in gastroenterology in particular and medicine in general. Of 100 patients with CD, just over 10 percent present with classical overt symptoms of malabsorption such as weight loss, diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies. About 10 percent are incorrectly diagnosed for some length of time, in some cases years. Forty percent present in an atypical manner, which leads to lengthy delay in diagnosis. About 33 percent of patients have clinically silent disease and 7 percent have latent CD (no symptoms or small bowel lesion but will develop CD later, or had disease at an early age and resolved).” C. Robert Dahl, MD, “Celiac Disease: The Great Mimic Presentation,” CSA Annual Conference, September 2000.”

Although each patient presents a unique case, “classic” celiac symptoms have been cataloged, and include:

  • Constant and voracious hunger
  • Constipation and anal fissures which may alternate with diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • An inability to absorb fats from the diet, which results in the production of fatty, foul-smelling stools
  • A skin rash is known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis
  • Weight loss
  • A failure to thrive in children
  • Edema and water retention
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia and low iron
  • Osteoporosis with bone pain and bone loss
  • Seizures and other neurological issues
  • Associated symptoms of essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to the inability to absorb nutrients within the digestive tract.
  • Smaller children may exhibit projectile vomiting and stunted growth

It is not uncommon for celiac disease symptoms to be vaguer. Celiac sufferers sometimes exhibit subtle symptoms such as dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis), depression, irritability, joint pain, mouth sores, muscle cramps, especially in the hands and feet, skin rash, stomach discomfort, and tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy).

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