What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eating gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine that can damage the lining. The intestinal damage can cause diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, and anemia, among other complications. No one knows what causes celiac disease, but certain gastrointestinal infections and the makeup of your gut bacteria may lead you to having a higher risk of developing it.
What are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?
The signs and symptoms of celiac disease vary from one person to the next. Common symptoms related to the digestive system include:
- Weight loss
- Acid reflux and heartburn
Symptoms not related to the digestive system include:
- Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
- Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Damage to dental enamel
- Mouth ulcers
- Headaches and fatigue
- Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance, and cognitive impairment
- Joint pain
- Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
If you are experiencing severe or frequent symptoms of celiac disease, schedule an appointment with Digestive Health Associates of Cheyenne. If celiac disease is the diagnosis, the doctor will talk with you about treatment options. Leaving the condition untreated may cause complications such as malnutrition, loss of calcium and bone density, infertility and miscarriage, lactose intolerance, cancer, and neurological conditions.
How Do You Treat Celiac Disease?
You can manage celiac disease through lifestyle changes by adopting a gluten-free diet and discontinuing the use of medications, vitamins and supplements, and nonfood products that may contain gluten. Depending upon your test results, the doctor may prescribe an endoscopy to look at your small intestine and take a biopsy to determine the extent of your intestinal damage. If the damage is severe, the doctor may prescribe steroids to control inflammation. Once you remove gluten from your diet, inflammation is likely to subside considerably. You may see the complete healing of your small intestine within a few months to a few years.
Our board-certified, experienced physicians at Digestive Health Associates of Cheyenne strive to provide patients with the best treatment options to manage celiac disease. Call us today at 307.635.4141 to schedule an appointment.
Learn More: Celiac Disease
Ready to Schedule an Appointment or Need More Information?
At Digestive Health Associates, we are dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain an optimal level of digestive health.