Overview

What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder triggered by an abnormal immune response to gluten. It mainly affects the small bowel, damaging the lining and preventing absorption of food and nutrients. Gluten is a protein found in foods made with wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It is also found in oats that have been made in processing plants that handle other grains.

Symptoms

What are the signs of Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease symptoms usually involve the intestines and digestive system, but they can also affect other parts of the body. Symptoms include:

Fatigue

Fatigue

Weight loss

Weight loss

Persistant diarrhoea or constipation

Persistant diarrhoea or constipation

Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain

Iron-deficiency anaemia

Iron-deficiency anaemia

Weak, brittle bones

Weak, brittle bones

Depression

Depression

Skin disorders

Skin disorders

Numbness & tingling in hands & feet

Numbness & tingling in hands & feet

Irregular menstrual periods

Irregular menstrual periods

Causes

What are the causes of Coeliac Disease?

The exact cause of coeliac disease is unknown. However, genetics combined with eating foods with gluten can contribute to the disease. Other contributing factors might include infant-feeding practices, gastrointestinal infections, viral infections, severe emotional stress, surgery and gut bacteria. The main risk factors include:

Family history

Family history

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Autoimmune thyroid disease

Autoimmune thyroid disease

Addison's disease

Addison's disease

Down syndrome

Down syndrome

Diagnosis

How do I know if I have Coeliac Disease?

To diagnose coeliac disease, your doctor is likely to ask you about your medical and family history or request the following tests:

Full blood count (FBC)

Full blood count (FBC)

Iron studies

Iron studies

Liver function test

Liver function test

Coeliac profile (genetic)

Coeliac profile (genetic)

Endoscopy/Colonoscopy

Endoscopy/Colonoscopy

Find a Practitioner

See a list of practitioners who are specialised in treating Coeliac Disease.