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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

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


    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.

    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
    • 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
    • Foul-smelling 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 B12 deficiency
    • Vitamin D deficiency
    • Vitamin K deficiency
    • Vomiting
    • Voracious appetite
    • Weight loss

    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


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    Recommended Comments



    Guest Linda Levine

    Posted

    Have you found any association with Hirschsprung's Disease? My daughter has Hirschsprung's and was doing fine until becoming miserable ever since going away to college and eating dorm food. We have an appointment with a new Gastroenterologist and will pursue the Celiac angle just to see.

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    I'm 19 and I think I might have this. I'm not sure though. My family cant afford to take me to the doctor, and I'm too afraid anyways. I get sick to my stomach A LOT! Everyday I feel like I have a stomach ache. I don't usually go to the bathroom for 4-5 days. I get diarrhea when I go, and the rest of the time I'm constipated. I cant go anywhere. I have to stay home because it hurts way to bad. I have felt like this for 2 years, and had no idea why. Everyone I know thinks its just in my head, and the only reason I feel like this is because I think about it too much. Or they think I want attention or I'm faking it. I'M NOT FAKING IT! I ordered a book on it. I read it and it helped me a lot and so did this article. I would love to know if I have it but I'm just way too scared, and the diet is too expensive.

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    Thank you...thank you...thank you!

     

    I have been suffering for over 4 years with chronic diarrhea, bloating, cramps, fatigue and body aches. I had been treated with antibiotics for the last 4 years for bacterial infections which I obviously did not have. Thank you for sharing and educating people about celiac disease. The more we know....the better we are!

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    I'm 20 and I've had stomach problems since 5th grade. I was pretty friendly in grade school, but just quiet and tired since then. Everyone said I was nervous and didn't eat enough. When I was 15 my friend told me she was lactose intolerant -- avoiding lactose helped me some, but not a ton. My junior year of high school I went from 135lbs to 120 in two months for no apparent reason, and things only went downhill from there. This winter the stomach problems got so bad, I found myself curled up on the floor crying, thinking that I was going to die soon from organ failure or starvation. I went to the doctor, they said “maybe celiac disease,†and gave me a packet on it. The only symptom I didn't have on the list was stunted growth – although I come from a tall family – I'm short comparatively. I've been on the gluten-free diet for a little while and I feel AMAZING. If a college student whose cooking repertoire previously consisted of toaster waffles and instant pudding can go gluten-free, so can you!

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    I'm 20 and I've had stomach problems since 5th grade. I was pretty friendly in grade school, but just quiet and tired since then. Everyone said I was nervous and didn't eat enough. When I was 15 my friend told me she was lactose intolerant -- avoiding lactose helped me some, but not a ton. My junior year of high school I went from 135lbs to 120 in two months for no apparent reason, and things only went downhill from there. This winter the stomach problems got so bad, I found myself curled up on the floor crying, thinking that I was going to die soon from organ failure or starvation. I went to the doctor, they said “maybe celiac disease,†and gave me a packet on it. The only symptom I didn't have on the list was stunted growth – although I come from a tall family – I'm short comparatively. I've been on the gluten-free diet for a little while and I feel AMAZING. If a college student whose cooking repertoire previously consisted of toaster waffles and instant pudding can go gluten-free, so can you!

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    I have most of the symptoms that are mentioned. I was checked for celiac disease, the doctor said I was all clear. But because the symptoms carried on I decided to stop eating Gluten in my diet I did this for a month, the symptoms stopped and the added bonus was I lost a stone. Then we had a Crisis in the family and I was away for a week, I didn't want to add to the stress so I ate what I was given. Well the symptoms were back in 2 days. I think the doctor must be wrong, but don't want to keep bothering him.

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    Guest Darlene Sarvis

    Posted

    Excellent statements. Isn't it a shame that our doctors don't give us the celiac blood test after we go in with numerous problems? I am new to this Web site and hopefully, I'll find some ideas on what to eat, how to fix, where to buy something that tastes half way decent! I am allergic to dairy, soy, eggs, etc. Never knew this until I took a food allergy test! Going back soon and have a retest and ask for the Celiac blood test too! Thanks to everyone......all this helps!

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    OK - after 4-5 days in the hospital for 'colitis' - very bloody stools and extreme pain. My doctor finally does a celiac test and it comes back negative! I definitely have a lot of the symptoms, especially the aches and pains, problem stools, low energy, etc etc. Could I still have the disease even though the blood test came back normal? If not, the doctors, nor I really know what is going on. This is so frustrating!

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    I am still surprised how hard it is to find information about celiac disease. I have friends, co-workers, students, and family members who have symptoms of or have been diagnosed with celiac. I am hoping to become more informed so that I don't add to their issues by giving them something to eat that they shouldn't have. I also am finding that the more information I read, the more people I know with symptoms. I have struggled for years with certain problems and, even with some education on celiac disease, I never assumed that I too could have a gluten intolerance or allergy. I am going to be a lot more conscious of what I eat and expose myself to and see if my symptoms go away. I appreciate sites like this one that give the public a chance to share their voice. The information here is very helpful and the comments from others are a real eye-opener! Thanks!

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    My friend is gluten free, after hearing her story I looked into it and started my gluten free diet, within a week I was feeling better, I've been down (ill) for 4 years barley participating in life, wish I had seen this sight years ago! Would be nice to see this on Nightly News!

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    I was diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis 10 years ago and ignored it. I continued to eat gluten until my mother was recently diagnosed with celiac. I have also been tested and await the results. Regardless. after reading these articles, I vow to be gluten free for life! Thanks for the info.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott 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. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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