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  • Jefferson Adams

    Gastrointestinal and Non-gastrointestinal Symptoms Vary in Patients with Celiac Disease

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 03/25/2013 - More and more, research is showing that celiac disease may have a variety of different clinical presentations. A team of researchers recently used data from Italy, Romania and Iran to explore rates of gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--greenflames09The research team included M.J. Ehsani-Ardakani, M. Rostami Nejad, V. Villanacci, U. Volta, S. Manenti, G. Caio, P. Giovenali, G. Becheanu, M. Diculescu, S. Pellegrino, G. Magazzù, G. Casella, C. Di Bella, N. Decarli, M. Biancalani, G. Bassotti, S. Hogg-Kollars, M.R. Zali, K. Rostami. They are affiliated with the Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases Research Center at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran.



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    For their retrospective cross-sectional study, the team used data gathered Iran, Romania and Italy from May 2009 - May 2011. The study included only cases of celiac disease confirmed by endoscopy, small bowel biopsy and positive serology.

    The team collected data on gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting, weight loss and flatulence, as well as additional signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia (IDA), osteoporosis, hypertransaminasemia, and other related abnormalities.

    The study included 323 women and 127 men with confirmed celiac disease. Average patient age at diagnosis was 34.2 ± 16.47.

    A total of 157 patients (34.9%) reported at least one gastrointestinal symptom. Most of those patients reported diarrhea (13.6%), or dyspepsia and constipation (4.0%). 168 patients (37.3%) reported non-gastrointestinal symptoms, most commonly anemia (20.7%) and osteopenia (6%).

    The data showed statistically significant differences between the majority of symptoms, compared with the reported clinical symptoms from different countries.

    The study showed that European patients commonly complained of upper abdominal disorders, such as abdominal pain and dyspepsia, while Iranian patients commonly complained of the more classic celiac symptoms of diarrhea and bloating. Anemia was the most common non-gastrointestinal complaint for both Iranian and Italian patients, but was significantly higher in Iranian patients.


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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