Symptoms of Celiac can range from mild to severe. The “Classic” symptoms include gastrointestinal issues, however, in some individuals Celiac can manifest in a completely different way. Symptoms can often mimic other disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Some individuals have “silent” Celiac, and may be completely asymptomatic though damage is still occurring in the small intestines.
If experiencing any of the below symptoms, speak with your primary care physician and request a blood test for Celiac – most certainly if a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome has been suggested, and symptoms have not resolved, or if there is a history of Celiac in the family. Be pro-active about your health. Rule it out!
Gastrointestinal symptoms include:- Abdominal pain, bloating, distention - Constipation (chronic or occasional) - Diarrhea (chronic or occasional) - Foul smelling flatulence (gas) - Oily, fatty, floating, & foul smelling stools (foul & floating stools alone can be normal) - Decreased appetite - Feeling full even after eating a small portion - Indigestion, heartburn - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Celiacs are often misdiagnosed as having IBS) - Lactose Intolerance (& other food intolerances) - Nausea, vomiting - Unexplained Weight Loss
Nonintestinal symptoms may include: (common manifestations are highlighted in red, though any number of symptoms may be presented)- Attention Deficit - Alopecia (hair loss) - Anxiety / Panic Attacks - Anemia (low blood count) - Arthritis – bone & joint pain - Ataxia (see neurological conditions below) - Bruising - Dental enamel defects - Dermatitis Herpetiformis (the skin version of Celiac) - Delayed puberty - Depression - Fatigue & weakness (may be caused by iron deficiency) - Failure to thrive/grow/unexplained short stature (in children) - Fibromyalgia (bone & joint pain) - Fractures (due to Osteoporosis) - Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar count) - Hyposplenism - Infertility - Irritability (primarily in children) - Liver disease - Malnutrition - Migraines - Miscarriages - Mouth ulcers/sores (Aphthous Stomatitis) - Muscle cramps - Nosebleed - Neurological conditions (Peripheral Neuropathy – tingling, numbness; Ataxia – lack of coordination, Seizures) - Osteopenia and Osteoporosis (result of Calcium malabsorption) - Pre-term births - Restless Legs (RLS) due to iron deficiency - Sinus problems - Thrombocytosis (extra platelets) - Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (Iron, Folate, Calcium, Vitamins D, B-12 & K & other)
To reiterate, though the “classic” symptoms of Celiac are gastrointestinal, many people do not have any gastrointestinal issues whatsoever. Don’t assume because you do not have diarrhea, you couldn’t possibly have Celiac – read below!
(From the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: ”Children tend to have the more classic signs of celiac disease, including growth problems (failure to thrive), chronic diarrhea/constipation, recurring abdominal bloating and pain, fatigue and irritability. Adults tend to have symptoms that are not entirely gastrointestinal in nature. Recent research has demonstrated that only a third of adult patients diagnosed with celiac disease experience diarrhea. Weight loss is also not a common sign. The most common sign of celiac disease in adults is iron deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron therapy.”)