Celiac disease: symptoms and diagnosis

What are the signs and symptoms of celiac disease?

A person may experience digestive signs and symptoms, or symptoms in other parts of the body. Digestive signs and celiac symptoms are more common in children and can include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Swelling, gas, indigestion
  • Abundant and greasy bowel movements.
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Irregular periods

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Consequences in the Celiac chil-(celiac symptoms)

If a child cannot absorb nutrients, during the years when nutrition is critical, for normal growth and development, it can lead to other health problems, such as:

  • Babies do not prosper properly
  • Slowed growth and short stature
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability or change in mood
  • Delayed puberty
  • Dental enamel defects of permanent teeth

Adults are less likely to have digestive signs and symptoms, but they may have other types of signs, such as: (celiac symptoms)

  • Anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Canker sores inside the mouth
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy, blistering skin rash
  • Fatigue, or feeling tired
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • Irregular menstrual period
  • Seizures
  • Tingling, numbness in the hands and feet
  • Weak and brittle bones, or osteoporosis
  • Headaches

Intestinal inflammation can cause other celiac symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling tired for long periods of time
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Ulcers
  • Blockages in the intestine

Celiac disease can produce an autoimmune reaction or a self-directed immune reaction. Where a person’s immune system, attacks healthy cells in their own body (celiac symptoms). This reaction may spread outside the gastrointestinal tract, to affect other areas of the body, such as:

  • Spleen
  • Skin
  • Nervous system
  • Bones
  • Joints

Recognizing celiac disease can be difficult, because some of its symptoms, are similar to those of other diseases and conditions. Therefore, Celiac disease can be confused with:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual blood loss
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Intestinal infections
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

As a result, celiac disease can be underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. However, as doctors become more aware of the varied symptoms of celiac disease, there are more reliable blood tests available. Therefore, diagnostic rates are increasing, especially for adults (celiac symptoms).

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

A doctor diagnosis celiac disease through:

  • Medical and family history
  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • An intestinal biopsy
  • A skin biopsy

Medical and Family History

Taking a medical and family history can help a doctor diagnose celiac disease. He or she will ask the patient or caregiver to provide a medical and family history. Above all, if someone in the patient’s family has a history of celiac disease. (celiac symptoms)

Physical Exam

A physical exam can help diagnose celiac disease. During a physical exam, the doctor usually examines the patient’s body, for malnutrition or a rash. In addition, by means of a stethoscope, placed on the abdomen, he listens, as he strikes lightly, to detect swelling and pain. (celiac symptoms)

Blood Tests

A blood test, can show the presence of antibodies, that are common in celiac disease. However, if the results of the blood tests are negative, but there is still suspicion of celiac disease, you may request additional blood tests.

Therefore, before blood tests, patients should continue to eat a diet that includes foods with gluten, such as breads and pastries. Consequently, if a patient stops eating gluten foods before being tested, the results can be negative for celiac disease, even if the disease is present. (celiac symptoms)

Intestinal Biopsy

If blood tests suggest that a patient has celiac disease, the next step of the doctor, will be to perform a biopsy of the patient’s small intestine, to confirm the diagnosis. Above all, a biopsy is a procedure that involves removing a piece of tissue, for later analysis.

During the biopsy, the doctor removes small pieces of tissue from the patient’s small intestine, with an endoscope, which is a flexible instrument, with a small camera and with light, which allows a thorough examination of the intestinal lining. Then, a pathologist, examines the tissues in a laboratory, to give the final diagnosis of the presence or not of celiac disease. (celiac symptoms)


See also: “Treatment of celiac disease


Symptoms Celiac

Skin Biopsy

When the doctor suspects that a patient has dermatitis herpetiformis, he or she will perform a skin biopsy. Above all, a skin biopsy is a procedure that involves removing tiny pieces of skin tissue, for examination with a microscope. The doctor performs the biopsy in an outpatient center or a hospital. The patient receives a local anesthetic; however, in some cases, the patient will require general anesthesia. (celiac symptoms)

A pathologist examines the skin tissue in a lab and checks the tissue for antibodies that are common in celiac disease. If the skin tissue tests positive for the antibodies, the doctor will perform blood tests to confirm celiac disease. Therefore, if skin biopsy and blood tests suggest celiac disease, the patient may no longer need an intestinal biopsy for diagnosis.