Symptoms: The Full Gamut

in Basics, Celiac
Published: August 30, 2010
158185172Photo: Thinkstock

The symptoms of celiac disease can involve multiple organs and range widely in both severity and type. Besides the usual symptomatic suspects – digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation – they can include hair loss, mouth sores and itchy, even painful skin rashes, usually around the joints.

An individual with celiac may have anemia, be preternaturally short or experience infertility. You may develop associated health conditions such as osteoporosis or peripheral neuropathy – nerve damage that is usually associated with type 1 diabetes. This can cause twitching, muscle loss and numbness, especially in extremities such as soles of your feet.

In fact, if you have type 1 diabetes or thyroid problems, you may also have celiac disease because research has shown there are links between them. With thanks to Shelley Case, registered dietitian and Allergic Living magazine columnist, here is a list of known symptoms:

  • abdominal pain, bloating and gas
  • indigestion/reflux (heartburn)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea, constipation or both
  • lactose intolerance
  • weight loss (CD can occur in obese individuals)
  • chronic fatigue and weakness
  • iron, folate and/or vitamin B12 deficiency
  • other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • bone and/or joint pain
  • osteoporosis
  • easy bruising of the skin
  • itchy, burning skin rashes
  • swelling of hands and feet
  • migraine headaches
  • canker sores
  • menstrual irregularities
  • infertility (in both women and men)
  • recurrent miscarriages
  • elevated liver enzymes

Additional Symptoms in Children

  • irritability and behavioural changes
  • concentration and learning difficulties
  • failure to thrive (delayed growth and short stature)
  • delayed puberty
  • dental enamel abnormalities