Symptoms of celiac disease can vary in type and/or severity. Symptoms can start as soon as gluten is introduced into the diet, or they may not develop until adulthood. Children often have different symptoms than adults. Symptoms may not develop (or may be mild) if a large section of the intestine is undamaged. Malnutrition may produce the first signs of the condition, which are often the most serious. Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms of it. Signs and symptoms may include: Weight lossAbdominal cramps, bloating, and gasDiarrheaFoul-smelling, light-colored, oily stoolChange in appetiteFatigueAnemia
Bone problems, such as:
Reduced bone density—osteoporosisBone thinning—osteopeniaPoorly formed bones (rickets) caused by vitamin D deficiency—osteomalaciaBone painShort stature (in children)Reproductive system problems, such as missed menstrual periods and infertility
Dermatological problems, such as:
Cracked sores in the corners of the mouth—angular cheilitisSkin rash, especially dermatitis herpetiformis (a gluten-sensitive skin rash)Shallow sores in the mucous membranes of the mouth—aphthous ulcers
Neuro-psychological problems, such as:
Behavioral changesDepressionIrritabilitySeizuresTingling or numbness, most often in the feet or lower legs—peripheral neuropathyLightheadednessMuscle cramps and joint painDental problems, related to malabsorption of calcium and vitamin DFailure to thrive
Celiac disease (gluten enteropathy). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/malabsorption-syndromes/celiac-disease. Updated May 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Celiac disease: Symptoms. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
What I need to know about celiac disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
website. Available at:
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease/Pages/ez.aspx. Updated September 2013. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
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