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Colon Neoplasia Co-existing with Celiac Disease in Older Patients: Coincidental, Probably; Important, Certainly

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Sep;37(9):1054-6. Related Articles, Links

Celiac.com 08/27/2004 – The following abstract demonstrates the importance of follow up exams with your doctor, and also the importance of regular colon screenings for those with celiac disease.

BACKGROUND: Coeliac disease and colorectal neoplasia are both common, present most often in patients over 40 and cause similar symptoms. Greater awareness and early use of serological tests have improved the diagnosis of coeliac disease, but raise the concern that co-existing colorectal neoplasia may be missed. This study assessed the prevalence of colorectal neoplasia among patients with coeliac disease diagnosed after the age of 40 who presented with altered bowel habit or iron deficiency.

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METHODS: All patients meeting the above criteria underwent colonoscopy unless this or barium enema had been performed shortly before.

RESULTS: Of 69 patients with coeliac disease undergoing colonoscopy, 7 (10%) had colon neoplasia: 5 had tubulovillous polyps, and 2 had carcinoma. The prevalence figures for coeliac patients undergoing colonoscopy with iron deficiency and altered bowel habit alone were 11% (5 of 47) and 10% (2 of 22), respectively None of a further 13 who had undergone previous colon investigation (all by barium enema) had neoplasia, although these were probably a selected population. The seven patients with colorectal neoplasia had not reported rectal bleeding. The prevalence of colorectal neoplasia was not significantly higher than in two series of non-coeliac patients undergoing colonoscopy for investigation of iron deficiency (12%) or altered bowel habit (8%).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a high prevalence of colorectal neoplasia among older patients with coeliac disease who present with iron deficiency or altered bowel habit, though this is no higher than for non-coeliac patients with these presentations. The possibility of dual pathology should be considered and excluded by colon investigation.

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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.