For those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, avoidance of trigger foods and ingredients allows them to enjoy their meals without incident. But what if you have celiac disease and don’t know it? If after you consume any products that may contain wheat, rye, barley or a combination of these grains and experience any of the following symptoms, you may in fact have celiac disease.
Celiac disease causes an immunological reaction that can lead to nutrient malabsorption that results in intestinal issues such as abdominal bloating and pain, flatulence, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and/or constipation. You may experience bouts of acid reflux, as well as loss of appetite.
Gluten intolerance can cause dermatitis herpetiformis, which presents as itchy, blistering on the scalp, torso, elbows, knees and buttocks. Rashes in the mouth or development of mouth ulcers also is common with celiac disease.
Weakness in Bones
As mentioned, celiac disease prevents the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. This has a profound effect on the bones, which require calcium and vitamin D to be strong and healthy. As such, it is quite common for adults with celiac disease to lose bone density (osteoporosis) as they age. This, plus general inflammation, can also result in joint pain.
Problems with the Nervous System
Celiac disease can present in a number of conditions of the nervous system, particularly cognitive impairment, numbness and tingling in the lower and upper extremities, seizures, and headaches and migraines, all the result of the nervous system not getting the nutrients it needs to fire on all cylinders.
As mentioned, the absorption of calcium and vitamin D is essential for strong bones; they also contribute to a healthy reproductive system. If you are having trouble conceiving, are missing periods (or are anemic), or have a history of miscarriages, you may want to ask your doctor about being tested for celiac disease.
If you feel “off center” after eating foods that trigger symptoms of celiac disease, you are not imagining things. In fact, depression, anxiety, exhaustion and fatigue all are symptoms of celiac disease. Doctors believe the reason again has to do with the inadequate absorption of nutrients into the body that is commonplace with celiac disease. Your brain needs nutrients too; because celiac prevents your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals it needs to sustain itself, your brain doesn’t have the right fuel it needs to stay balanced and functioning properly. Celiac also takes its toll on your thyroid, leading to similar symptoms.
Treating Celiac Disease in Cleveland
If you have experienced these symptoms – alone or in combination with each other – especially after consuming gluten – there is a good chance you may have celiac disease. Before you skip the bagel at breakfast or linguine at lunch, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. At North Shore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers, our renown team of medical professionals has expertise treating a broad range of gastrointestinal conditions ranging from acid reflux to colon cancer. If you have reason to believe you may have celiac disease or that your diet is having an effect on your health and well-being, we can help with the most advanced, cutting edge procedures combined with personal care and attention. We are affiliated with The Cleveland Clinic and St. John Medical Center and work closely with your primary care provider to provide the best treatment for your gastrointestinal condition. To schedule an appointment, call North Shore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers at (440) 808-1212 or request one online now.