The most common symptoms of celiac disease are chronic diarrhea and severe weight loss. Adults, infants and young children display these common symptoms, especially when they start consuming cereals that contain gluten.
Though earlier it was assumed that celiac disease only affects young children, it has now been proven that anybody, at any age, can contract this disease, with varying symptoms and in some cases, these remain for life. However, the most effective way of getting rid of these symptoms is by altering one's diet to one that is gluten-free.
At times it may be found that the patient’s intestines have been damaged very badly due to chronic inflammation and even a gluten-free diet is able to provide little relief; such a condition is medically known as unresponsive or refractory celiac disease.
The symptoms of celiac disease are similar to and hence, often confused with other gastrointestinal disorders, like stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease. These include constipation, a persistent case of indigestion, diarrhea, chronic bloating, mouth ulcers, lactose intolerance, unhealthy appetite and abdominal cramps and swelling.
If left untreated for a long time, celiac disease can also cause adenocarcinoma and lymphoma of the small intestine. However, patients with celiac disease rarely develop cancer even with increased risk, if they religiously follow a gluten-free diet.
Mal-absorption can be indicated by symptoms like unnatural weight loss, fatigue, anemia, bacterial growth in the small intestine, and delayed growth in children. Gluten rash, infertility, late puberty and depression are other symptoms of celiac disease.
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