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Signs and Symptoms

Highly variable symptoms, difficult to diagnose

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Diagnosis a Challenging & Lengthy Process

The symptoms of Celiac Disease are highly variable among individuals and overlap with other diseases, making diagnosis a challenging and lengthy process. Classic Celiac Disease may be associated with gastrointestinal symptoms that include any of the following:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • weight loss
  • change in appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • anorexia
  • lactose intolerance
  • abdominal distension and discomfort
  • stools that float, smell foul, or are bloody or fatty

Other Non-Gastrointestinal Symptoms

If left undiagnosed, other non-gastrointestinal symptoms may arise over time if the intestines are not able to absorb necessary nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from food. These symptoms may arise even without the occurrence of the gastrointestinal symptoms listed above:

  • easy bruising
  • depression or anxiety
  • hair loss
  • chronic fatigue
  • joint pain and inflammation
  • muscle cramps
  • nosebleeds
  • migraines
  • epilepsy
  • attention deficit disorder
  • vitamin deficiency
  • anemia (low blood count)
  • hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • missed menstrual periods
  • mouth ulcers
  • dental enamel defects
  • dermatitis herpetiformis (itchy skin)
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • short stature

Celiac Disease in Children

Celiac Disease in children may cause typical symptoms and growth defects. In children, Celiac Disease may be indicated by:

  • dental enamel defects
  • delayed puberty
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and non-normal stools)
  • irritability
  • reduced weight gain and slow growth and/or size for their age

Possible Symptoms if Undiagnosed

A length delay in diagnosing Celiac Disease may lead to:

  • other autoimmune disorders
  • bone disease (such as osteoporosis and osteopenia)
  • intestinal cancer
  • infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • liver disease