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Full Gut Recovery from Celiac Disease Can Take Up to Two Years


Photo: CC--Thomas Haynie

Celiac.com 03/14/2017 - Recent studies of adult celiacs have suggested that complete, not just partial, mucosal recovery and healing is possible, but, in many cases, may take longer than is currently understood.

Recently Dr. Hugh James Freeman of the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, conducted a study to assess healing time in celiac patients. In this study, 182 patients (60 males, 122 females) referred for evaluation of symptoms, including diarrhea and weight loss, were selected only if initial biopsies showed characteristic inflammatory changes with severe architectural disturbance.

All patients were treated with a strict gluten-free diet, and diet compliance was regularly monitored. Up to 90% or more of patients showed a complete mucosal response or healing, many within 6 months. However, most patients required up to 2 years for full healing and recovery to take place in the gut.

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In this evaluation, women in each of 4 different age ranges showed better mucosal response and healing than men, while elderly celiacs had lower rates overall. Such factors should be considered before labeling a patient with "non-responsive" disease.

However, celiacs who are diagnosed later, start a gluten-free diet later, and who have inflammatory changes with persistent gut damage may be at increased risk for a later small bowel complication, including lymphoma.

The overall good news here is that full mucosal healing can and does occur in most people with celiac disease. Some people may take longer to heal, but the evidence shows that most do eventually heal.

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3 Responses:

 
Brenda
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said this on
20 Mar 2017 11:14:12 AM PST
Wait ... Does this mean that someone with celiac disease can follow a strict GF diet for two years and not have to worry about possible cross contamination after that? I was under the impression that just a hint of gluten in my diet will return my gut to the complete villous atrophy state instantly and that my villi would never be as strong as they once were. This article leads me to believe that information may have changed. Is that right?

 
Jeff Adams
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said this on
26 Mar 2017 2:25:54 PM PST
No. If you have celiac disease, you must maintain a gluten-free diet. The study analysis means that, even on a gluten-free diet, people with celiac disease can take up to two years to see full healing in the gut. That fact may help doctors and patients adjust their expectations, and to better understand and treat celiac disease.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
24 Mar 2017 10:30:00 AM PST
This does not mean that you can eat gluten after recovery, only that full recovery can take up to two years for many celiacs.




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