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Higher Rate of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Women with Treated Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 09/29/2003 - The results of a study published in the September edition of American Journal of Gastroenterology indicate that women with treated celiac disease suffer twice as many gastrointestinal symptoms than do their male counterparts, and that men with treated celiac disease suffered no more GI symptoms than did the normal population. More studies need to be done, however, to determine why male celiacs seem to respond better to treatment than females. Some follow-up work has already been done on this topic. -Scott

Here is the abstract:

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Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Sep;98(9):2023-6.
High rate of gastrointestinal symptoms in celiac patients living on a gluten-free diet: controlled study.
Midhagen G, Hallert C.
Department of Internal Medicine, Skovde Hospital, Skovde, Sweden

The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of GI symptoms in adults with celiac disease (CD) treated with a gluten-free diet for several years. We studied a cohort of adults with celiac disease (n = 51; 59% women) aged 45-64 yr and proved to be in remission after 8-12 yr of treatment. They were examined by the GI Symptom Rating Scale, which comprises five syndromes: indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and reflux. A general population sample (n = 182; 57% women) of same age served as controls. Subjects with celiac disease reported significantly more GI symptoms than the general population sample, as assessed by the GI Symptom Rating Scale total score (p < 0.01). This was particularly true for women with celiac disease who scored worse than female controls for all syndromes on the GI Symptom Rating Scale. By contrast, the men with celiac disease reported no more symptoms than male controls. The women with celiac disease showed generally more complaints than the men with celiac disease did, notably within indigestion, constipation, and abdominal pain, corresponding to a 2-fold higher rate of GI symptoms (60% vs. 29%; p < 0.04). Adult celiac disease patients on a gluten-free diet for several years experienced significantly more GI symptoms than the general population sample. This may have some of its origin in the composition of a gluten-free diet. The symptoms were more pronounced in the women. This may raise questions of an association with their subjective health status, which has been shown to be lower than in men with CD.

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