There are over 300 signs and symptoms of celiac disease, if left untreated, the condition may lead to a number of negative health outcomes.
Let's talk about the most common signs and symptoms of celiac disease.
- What are the most common signs of celiac disease?
- What are the most common symptoms of celiac disease?
- What happens if you are living with untreated celiac disease?
The signs and symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person, and largely depend on the type of celiac disease that you have, which is why it is so important to get tested for celiac disease if you suspect that you are living with the condition.
Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because there are up to 300 known celiac disease signs and symptoms which may occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body.
Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all, but still test positive on a celiac disease blood test. Others may have a negative blood test, but have a positive intestinal biopsy, all people with celiac disease are at risk for long-term complications, whether or not they display any symptoms.
What are the most common signs of celiac disease?
The most common signs of celiac disease include:
- Unexplained weight-loss
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (itchy skin rash)
- Mouth cankers (sores inside the mouth)
- Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone loss)
- Liver and biliary tract disorders
What are the most common symptoms of celiac disease?
The most common symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Severe bloating
- Depression or anxiety
- Bone or joint pain
- Peripheral neuropathy (tingling and/or numbness or pain in the hands and feet)
- Seizures and migraines
- Missed menstrual periods
- Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
What happens if you are living with untreated celiac disease?
Untreated celiac disease can lead to a number of serious health conditions including:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Early onset osteoporosis
- Dairy/lactose intolerance
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Lactose intolerance
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Nervous system disorders
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- GI cancers
- Gallbladder malfunction
- Epileptic seizures
Silent celiac disease is also known as asymptomatic celiac disease. Patients do not complain of any symptoms, but still experience villous atrophy damage to their small intestine.
Studies show that even though patients thought they had no symptoms, after going on a strict gluten-free diet they report better health and a reduction in acid reflux, abdominal bloating, abdominal distention and flatulence.
The Science Bit
There are two key biomarkers that may offer more insight into your celiac disease diagnosis.
These two bio-markers include:
- Tissue Transglutaminase
- Endomysial Antibodies
Tissue Transglutaminase is produced in response to damage in the body. If you are livign with celiac disease and you consime gluten-containing products, it is likely that you will have low levels of tissue transglutaminase in the blood.
The harmful antibodies in their place are known as anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies.
Endomysial antibodies are produced when the body perceives that it is under attack. If you are living with celiac disease and you consume gluten-containing products, it is likely that you will have a high volume of endomysial antibodies in the blood.
When the body perceives that it is under attack, it produces endomysial antibodies. These auto-antibodies cause intestinal swelling and prevent the absorption of nutrients into the blood.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically reviewed by Dr. Dominic Rowley