Celiac Disease

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is when the body attacks the small intestine when gluten is eaten. The body usually attacks intruders, but it attacks the body by mistake. The body attacks the small intestine when gluten is eaten. The reaction damages the small intestine lining. The damaged small intestine cannot absorb some nutrients.

Healthy Intestine

Nutrients can be absorbed in healthy intestine lining.

Damaged Intestine

Less nutrients can be absorbed in damaged intestine lining.

What are possible causes?

The exact cause is unknown, but genetics can play a part.

What are some symptoms?

Symptoms are diferent for children and adults with celiac disease.

  • Tingling, numbness or pain in the hands and feet
  • Canker sores inside the mouth
  • Bone loss (osteoporosis)
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Pale, smelly, or oily poop
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Delayed puberty
  • Short stature
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
What to do?
  • Eat a gluten-free diet to let the intestines heal
  • Avoid food with gluten such as wheat, barley, and rye
  • Choose food without gluten such as rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, and corn
  • May need a multivitamin supplement
  • Consult a doctor or dietitian before making big changes
  1. What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease Foundation. https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/. Accessed December 5, 2020.
  2. Symptoms of Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease Foundation. https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/symptoms-of-celiac-disease/. Accessed December 9, 2020.
  3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual. http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed December 12, 2020.