Celiac Disease Treatment

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Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers … Read More

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Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications. In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development, besides causing the symptoms seen in adults. There’s no cure for celiac disease but for most people, following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly and differ in children and adults. Digestive signs and symptoms for adults include:

• Diarrhea
• Fatigue
• Weight loss
• Bloating and gas
• Abdominal pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Constipation

Causes

Your genes combined with eating foods with gluten and other factors can contribute to celiac disease, but the precise cause isn't known. Infant-feeding practices, gastrointestinal infections and gut bacteria might contribute, as well. Sometimes celiac disease becomes active after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress.

When the body's immune system overreacts to gluten in food, the reaction damages the tiny, hairlike projections (villi) that line the small intestine. Villi absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat. If your villi are damaged, you can't get enough nutrients, no matter how much you eat.

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