Celiac Disease

What’s the deal with Celiac Disease?

August 31, 2017

Celiac disease is a very complicated disease.  It’s more than just a food allergy or gut problem. This disease can completely wreak havoc on your body. With a list of possible symptoms a mile long, it’s no wonder so many people go undiagnosed or get misdiagnosed with other conditions.  It can show up at anytime in your life, men, women, and children – it doesn’t matter.  What’s even crazier is that some people who have celiac disease are asymptomatic. You could have this horrible, damaging autoimmune disease and never even know it.  But, regardless of symptoms, the damage to the body is still being done.  I guess in that aspect, I’m glad Sami had symptoms, that way we knew something was wrong.  Even though she too went undiagnosed for 3 years before we finally found out what the problem was.  According to Beyond Celiac, formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/

So, are Celiac disease symptoms in children different than Celiac disease symptoms in adults? Below is a partial list of possible celiac disease symptoms.  Like I said before, it’s a long, long list.  These are just some of the most common symptoms.  Everyone’s body reacts different to gluten so symptoms vary from person to person.  However, one difference would be that if you’re looking at celiac disease symptoms in children, you may notice that children can exhibit delayed growth and failure to thrive during infancy. Where if you’re looking at celiac disease symptoms in women, you’ll notice that women can experience infertility and miscarriages.

Gastrointestinal:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating/Gas
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Abdominal Distention
  • Acid Reflux
  • Nausea/Vomiting

Head Stuff:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor Concentration
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings

Your Body:

  • Weight Loss
  • Weight Gain
  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain
  • Anemia
  • Bruising Easily
  • Insomnia

Women:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriages
  • Missed Menstrual Periods

Kids:

  • Delayed Growth
  • Failure to Thrive during Infancy

Random Symptoms:

  • Pale Skin
  • Hair Loss
  • Rashes/Hives
  • Nosebleeds

Before Sami was diagnosed, she would have physical symptoms once, sometimes twice a month.  The six months prior to her diagnosis were the worst.  That’s when it was happening twice a month.  We called them her “episodes.”  They would last 3 days.  Each episode was the same.  Day 1 she would have what she called “the icky burps” Day 2 was the worst – an entire day of vomiting stomach acid.  Day 3 things would settle down, she would still feel horrible, but the worst of it was over.  This went on for 3 years while we hopped around from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong.  Back then it just wasn’t something they tested for.

The important thing is to educate yourself.  Celiac Disease is a genetic disorder, but my daughter is the only one in our family who has it.  Chances are I have some undiagnosed family members!  The point is, If you don’t feel good, go talk to your doctor.  Just remember, you have to be eating gluten for the celiac test to come back accurately.

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    1. Hello Marie – Celiac diseae and IBS have a lot in common. Diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain; those all symptoms of IBS, but they are also symptoms of celiac disease. There was a study done several years ago which indicated that 5% – 15% of celiacs were originally diagnosed as having IBS. With celiac disease becoming more common, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for someone with IBS to get tested for celiac disease. A gluten free diet could be the answer! Not to mention, the damage being done to the intestines if in fact someone has been misdiagnosed.

  1. Wow this information was so much easier to understand the way you wrote it, than it is on the other sites I’ve visited.
    You have really made me wonder if i should go to another doctor to get a second opinion .
    My current doctor has been saying for years that I have IBS ,and has been “experimenting ” on me with various medications that only seem to be making me sicker. I’m constantly on the toilet ,and its making my life miserable.
    Thank you Julie , for the great information. It really allowed me to understand celiac disease,
    It also gave ammo to bring to my Doctor so he can reevaluate my current diagnosis.

    1. I’m glad you found the information useful, Jason. Definitely talk to your doctor. If your medications have not been providing you with any relief of your symptoms, it’s possible you’re one of the many who have been misdiagnosed. All it takes is a simple blood test to screen for celiac disease. Of course if the blood test is positive, it would be followed up by a biopsy taken of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis. Alternatively, you could try a gluten free diet for 30 days and see if your symptoms improve. But, keep in mind, in order for the celiac blood test to come back accurately, you must be eating gluten.

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