Celiac disease 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 produces inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).
The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment.
In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development. The intestinal irritation can cause stomach pain, especially after eating.
There's no cure for celiac disease — but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing
May 22, 2013
- Ludvigsson JF, et al. The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms. Gut. 2013;62:43.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the most common manifestations of celiac disease today? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Celiac disease. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/indigestion/index.aspx. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Scanlon SA, et al. Update on celiac disease — etiology, differential diagnosis, drug targets, and management advances. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology. 2011;4:297.
- Rashtak S, et al. Review article: Coeliac disease, new approaches to therapy. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2012;35:768.
- Rubio-Tapia A, et al. The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107:1538.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Rubio-Tapia, A, et al. Prevalence of small intestine bacterial overgrowth diagnosed by quantitative culture of intestinal aspirate in celiac disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2009;43:157.
- Rubio-Tapia A, et al. Classification and management of refractory coeliac disease. Gut. 2010;59:547. Accessed March 29, 2013.
- Walker MM, et al. An update in the diagnosis of coeliac disease. Histopathology. 2011;59:166.
- Rubio-Tapia A, et al. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009;137:88.
- Presutti, RJ. Celiac disease. American Family Physician. 2007;76:1795.