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  • Scott Adams

    What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

    Scott Adams
    6 6
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Symptoms may be common in some people, but totally absent in others.

    Image: CC--Nick Spacee
    Caption: Image: CC--Nick Spacee

    Celiac.com 02/27/2019 - Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition with numerous symptoms, and associated conditions. People with celiac disease often have gastrointestinal symptoms, including upset stomach, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea. Some suffer from many of these on a regular basis. What are the most common symptoms? What are common associated conditions?

    However, many people show few or no symptoms. No single set of signs or symptoms is typical for everyone with celiac disease. Signs and symptoms almost always vary from person to person.

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    So, while many people show classic symptoms, significant numbers of adults with celiac disease present few or no symptoms, including no gastrointestinal symptoms, when diagnosed.

    Symptoms Can Vary Between Children and Adults

    The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly and are different in children and adults. The most common signs for adults are diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss. Adults may also experience bloating and gas, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, and vomiting.

    Symptoms in Children

    Children under 2 years old celiac symptoms often include vomiting, chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, muscle wasting, poor appetite, and swollen belly. Older children may experience diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, irritability, short stature, delayed puberty, and neurological symptoms, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination and seizures

    Associated Systemic Symptoms

    Certain associated conditions serve as potential systemic symptoms of celiac disease, including persistent anemia, chronic fatigue, weight loss, obesity, osteopenia, osteoporosis and fractures, amenorrhea, infertility, muscle cramps, and tooth enamel defects.

    Vague Symptoms Can Delay Celiac Diagnosis

    It is not uncommon for symptoms of celiac disease to be vague or confusing. Vague or confusing symptoms can include dental enamel defects, bone disorders like osteoporosis, depression, irritability, joint pain, mouth sores, muscle cramps, skin rash, stomach discomfort, and even neuropathy, often experienced as tingling in the legs and feet. 

    To make matters more challenging, celiac symptoms can also mimic symptoms of other diseases, such as anemia, Crohns disease, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel, parasitic infection, even various skin disorders or nervous conditions. Vague or confusing symptoms can delay celiac disease diagnosis.

    Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

    • Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
    • Acne
    • Anemia
    • Ataxia (gluten ataxia)
    • Borborygmi—stomach rumbling
    • Coetaneous bleeding
    • Delayed puberty
    • Dental enamel defects
    • Diarrhea
    • Dry skin
    • Easy bruising
    • Epistaxis—nose bleeds
    • Eczema
    • Failure to thrive or short stature
    • Fatigue or general weakness
    • Flatulence
    • Fluid retention
    • Folic acid deficiency
    • Foul-smelling yellow or grayish stools that are often fatty or oily
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms
    • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
    • General malaise, feeling unwell
    • Hematuria—red urine
    • Hypocalcaemia/hypomagnesaemia
    • Infertility, or recurrent miscarriage
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Joint Pain
    • Lymphocytic gastritis
    • Malabsorption
    • Malnutrition
    • Muscle weakness
    • Muscle wasting
    • Nausea
    • Obesity/Overweight
    • Osteoporosis
    • Pallor—pale, unhealthy appearance
    • Panic Attacks
    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression
    • Skin Problems—acne, eczema, DH, dry skin 
    • Stunted growth in children
    • Underweight
    • Vertigo
    • Vitamin A deficiency
    • Vitamin B6 deficiency
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency
    • Vitamin D deficiency
    • Vitamin K deficiency
    • Vomiting
    • Voracious appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Zinc deficiency

    Conditions Associated with Celiac Disease

    People with one or more of these associated conditions are at higher risk for celiac disease:

    • Addison's Disease 
    • Anemia 
    • Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia 
    • Arthritis 
    • Asthma 
    • Ataxia, Nerve Disease, Neuropathy, Brain Damage 
    • Attention Deficit Disorder 
    • Autism 
    • Bacterial Overgrowth 
    • Cancer, Lymphoma 
    • Candida Albicans 
    • Canker Sores—Aphthous Stomatitis) 
    • Casein / Cows Milk Intolerance 
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
    • Cognitive Impairment 
    • Crohn's Disease 
    • Depression 
    • Dermatitis Herpetiformis
    • Diabetes 
    • Down Syndrome 
    • Dyspepsia, Acid Reflux
    • Eczema
    • Epilepsy 
    • Eye Problems, Cataract 
    • Fertility, Pregnancy, Miscarriage 
    • Fibromyalgia 
    • Flatulence—Gas 
    • Gall Bladder Disease 
    • Gastrointestinal Bleeding 
    • Geographic Tongue—Glossitis 
    • Growth Hormone Deficiency 
    • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
    • Heart Failure 
    • Infertility, Impotency 
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
    • Intestinal Permeability 
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
    • Kidney Disease 
    • Liver and biliary tract disorders (transaminitis, fatty liver, primary sclerosing cholangitis, etc.)
    • Low bone density
    • Lupus 
    • Malnutrition, Body Mass Index 
    • Migraine Headaches 
    • Multiple Sclerosis 
    • Myasthenia Gravis Celiac Disease
    • Obesity, Overweight 
    • Osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia 
    • Psoriasis 
    • Refractory Celiac Disease & Collagenous Sprue
    • Sarcoidosis 
    • Scleroderma 
    • Schizophrenia / Mental Problems 
    • Sepsis 
    • Sjogrens Syndrome 
    • Sleep Disorders 
    • Thrombocytopenic Purpura 
    • Thyroid & Pancreatic Disorders 
    • Tuberculosis 

    Top Scientific References on Celiac Symptoms

    Edited by Scott Adams

    6 6

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Thank You for the informative information. I am now raising 4 grandchildren on my own (son deceased) and have found out that 2 of the children need to be on this diet. I hear how expensive it is and don't know how I am going to be able to accomplish all I need to for their benefit, but having this site for information and resources is a God send. Looking forward to trying some of the recipes.

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    THANKS FOR THE GOOD, CLEAR EXPLANATION. It is important to also mention non = celiac gluten sensitivity, as there are many more conditions that are caused by gluten consumption, including the many auto-immune diseases. New ones are being added to the list, such as Narcolepsy and even Parkinson's. Cutting out the consumption of gluten (wheat, barley and rye) can lead to healing and resumption of a normal life. Spread the word, support the research!

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    my son was diagnosed with lupus 14 years ago, I have just started the gluten free diet with extreme difficulty, any help would be welcomed. Thank you and kind regards.

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    Another symptom no-one has mentioned is how it can affect the brain and make it impossible for the person to control anything they say and do after eating gluten. I know as this is how it affects my daughter. ADD no, OCD no, but she got very angry three hours after eating gluten. She also has the stunted growth.

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    Thanks for all this information. My husband has been to see a person calling himself a Naturopath, who looked into his eyes, and then declared him to be gluten-intolerant. My husband has none of the above symptoms, so I'm feeling reassured that I needn't go through the hassle of buying gluten-free products, when I'm trying to raise 4 kids on a restricted budget! We tried it for a week, but it's really very hard to keep up with if it's not really necessary.

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    Guest Marlene Magness


    After reading your article, I intend to see my gastroenterologist for testing. I seem to have some of the symptoms of glucose intolerance. He recently tested me for lactose intolerance and found me to be highly lactose intolerant.

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    I have been working with my gastroenterologist for several years trying to diagnose my condition. She finally determined that my gallbladder needed to be removed, however my celiac symptoms got worse after that. My whole family has converted to a gluten free diet. For the most part things are working out for the better, but I still have the intestinal problems and overall fatigue even after 8 hours or more of sleep.

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    After suffering with different things over the years I was recently tested for Celiac, which I will not received the results until next week, in order for the test to be accurate I had to eat a wheat and Gluten diet for at least 10 days before the test. I have not had wheat in my diet for the last 3 years. I started off with a few symptoms, headaches, gas, bloating, rash, needing to clear throat a lot, heart palpitations etc; What concerned me the most was as the days went on I was so fatigued could hardly get out of bed, my mind and motor skills slowed way down and got very fuzzy, was not able to make important decisions and certainly unable to drive. After eating pancakes with my daughter one morning we were talking and all of a sudden I wasn't able to form certain words. That was so very scary. I don't really need the results to tell me I have a problem with wheat and gluten, other than it being hereditary, and needing to know for sure. It frightens me to think so many people have this and will never know. They , meaning people and their doctors treat the symptoms and not the culprit. Thank you for all the information, I'm sure I will need it. Take Care and God Bless!

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    I have had trouble with being overweight since I was a child. I am 20 yrs old now and weight 300. I get sick after I eat almost always. I get pains in my stomach , gas , or diarrhea. I also have dermatitis on my scalp. Been told several times its the way I eat, but after reading I think I could possibly have this. On another site someone mentioned boils. Have any of you experienced this? I have had issues with this myself. All in all this is a very informative site . Thank you

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    I've had diarrhea for about 10 years. My temperature is always 97. Something instead of 98.6. I was sick at home one day and googled about low body temperatures and it said many times people with a gluten allergy run low temperatures..I immediately got off gluten and I have felt much better and my intake of Immodium is seldom instead of every day. Thanks for the website. I refer to it almost everyday for information.

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    I have suffered for years with what was diagnosed as IBS. I have almost all the symptoms in your article & more & after many many visits to the doctors over the years I have at last got a doctor who has had the decency to get me checked out properly. I am awaiting the results & hoping that the ignorance of my prior doctor hasn't caused it to have gone too far. I suggest that anyone suffering these conditions don't let their doctor fob them off as I have been for at least 15 years. The only difference I have to the symptoms in this article is that I gained weight and cannot get it off no matter what diet or exercise I do.

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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