Celiac Disease | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease can cause a wide range of symptoms, symptoms that change, or sometimes no symptoms at all. Symptoms of celiac disease may include:

  • Infants and young children who have celiac disease are more likely to have digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea (even bloody diarrhea) and constipation, and may fail to grow and gain weight. A child may also be irritable, fretful, emotionally withdrawn, or excessively dependent. If the child becomes malnourished, he or she may have a large tummy, thin thigh muscles, and flat buttocks. Many children who have celiac disease are overweight or obese.
  • Teenagers may have digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation. They may hit puberty late and be short. Celiac disease might cause some hair loss (a condition called alopecia areata) or dental problems.
  • Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms. Instead, they might have a general feeling of poor health, including fatigue, bone or joint pain, irritability, anxiety and depression, and missed menstrual periods in women. Some adults may have digestive symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
  • Osteoporosis (loss of calcium from the bones) and anemia are common in adults who have celiac disease. A symptom of osteoporosis may be nighttime bone pain.
  • Lactose intolerance (a problem digesting milk products) is common in patients of all ages who have celiac disease.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy, blistery skin problem) and canker sores in the mouth are also common problems in people who have celiac disease.

Source

Detecting Celiac Disease in Your Patients by HT Pruessner, M.D. (American Family Physician March 01, 1998, http://www.aafp.org/afp/980301ap/pruessn.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 03/98

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