What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a serious genetic and autoimmune disorder that occurs due to consuming gluten. The immune system of the sufferer will react after taking gluten which can damage the lining of the small intestine and inhibit the absorption of nutrients.

Gluten is a protein that can be found in several types of cereals such as wheat. Some foods that contain cereals are pasta, breakfast cereals, certain sauces or ketchup, bread, and some types of instant foods. Gluten serves to make bread dough or other foods to be elastic and chewy.

Celiac Disease - Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease symptoms can appear and disappear from mild to severe. The symptoms in children and adults can be slightly different where the symptoms in some adults are not related to the digestive system. The following are the common symptoms of this disease in adults.

  • Anemia because of an iron deficiency
  • Nervous system injuries such as numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Osteoporosis or loss of bone density
  • Osteomalacia or softening of the bones
  • Dental enamel damage
  • Rashes on the skin that itch and blisters
  • Hyposplenism or decreased functioning of the spleen
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Mouth ulcers or canker sores
  • Liver and biliary tract disorders

Meanwhile, celiac disease symptoms in children are:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • The body height is below average
  • Puberty is late
  • Nerve disorders such as ADHD, learning disabilities, headache, and poor muscle coordination

Celiac Disease Causes

Celiac is not an allergy or a body’s intolerance to gluten but an autoimmune disorder. Until now, the exact cause of this disease is still unknown. However, the combination of many risk factors can lead to this disease. The following are some risk factors for celiac disease.

  • Hereditary Factors
  • Environmental Factors such as gut bacteria, pregnancy and childbirth, viral infection, severe emotional stress, gastrointestinal infections, infant feeding practices, and post-surgical reactions
  • Health Condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, Down syndrome or Turner syndrome, an autoimmune thyroid disease, microscopic colitis, and Addison’s disease
Celiac Disease - Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

Celiac Disease Treatment

The first action to cure celiac disease is a strict and lifelong gluten-free diet. Once you are diagnosed with this disease, the doctor usually will ask you to avoid all foods or ingredients that contain gluten. Besides a gluten-free diet, some additional therapy is needed to help cope with symptoms and prevent complications. The therapies include:


In some cases, celiac disease can cause the spleen to work less effectively so that people are susceptible to infection. Therefore, the patient needs additional vaccinations such as flu vaccine, Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, meningitis vaccine, and pneumococcal vaccine to protect patients from infection.


This therapy is needed to ensure sufferers get all the necessary nutrients. Supplements that needed are in the form of calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, and zinc.


This drug is needed when the intestinal damage is very severe to relieve symptoms during the intestinal healing process.


These drugs are used to help the symptoms relieve more quickly. The dosage of this drug given is usually very small considering it can cause side effects of headaches and depression.

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After a gluten-free diet and several therapies, the patient needs periodic check-ups to ensure that diet and therapy deliver the desired results. After a few weeks on a gluten-free diet, the patient’s condition usually improves, but complete healing of the digestive system can take up to 2 years.


Celiac disease is a serious genetic and autoimmune disorder that occurs due to consuming gluten. The certain cause is still unknown, only know some risk factors. If you have these disease symptoms, it is better to go to the doctor.