Celiac disease (gluten bowel disease)

Abdomen | Allergy & Immunology | Celiac disease (gluten bowel disease) (Disease)


Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs because of an intolerance of gluten, leading to the malabsorption of minerals and nutrients. Gluten is a protein found in cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.

The symptoms of celiac disease can be different from person to person. There can be gastrointestinal symptoms: abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion; constipation; diarrhea, either constant or off and on; stools that float, are foul smelling, bloody, or “fatty”; nausea and vomiting; lactose intolerance, common when the person is diagnosed and usually disappear after treatment; unexplained weight loss; decreased appetite but can also be increased or unchanged. Because of the malabsorbtion other changes can happen: bruising easily; depression or anxiety; fatigue; growth delay in children; hair loss; missed menstrual periods; mouth ulcers; muscle cramps and joint pain; nosebleeds; seizures.

Causes and Risk factors

The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown. The destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine in celiac disease is caused by an immunological, allergic reaction to gluten in the diet that inflames and destroys the inner lining of the small intestine. This reaction can be partially genetic and partially inherited.

Also there can be some conditions associated with celiac disease: autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Sjogren syndrome; Addison’s disease; Down syndrome; intestinal cancer; intestinal lymphoma; lactose intolerance; Thyroid disease and type 1 Diabetes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are several tests that can be used to assist in diagnosis. Serological blood tests and an upper endoscopy with biopsy of the duodenum or jejunum are performed.

Celiac disease cannot be cured. However, some measures in change of lifestyle and diet are necessary to be taken. A gluten-free diet is the essential step. Vitamin and mineral supplements to correct nutritional deficiencies are also prescribed. ...