Coeliac Disease

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Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms vary widely from person to person and may be mild, or even absent.

Signs and symptoms of coeliac disease include:

  • Abdominal pain and distension
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia that does not respond to iron supplements
  • Bleeding tendency
  • Bloody stool
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Changes in dental enamel
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Flatulence
  • Greasy foul-smelling stools
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

Patients with untreated coeliac disease will not typically have all of these symptoms, but may have a selection from this list. These symptoms are present in a variety of other conditions, and so a diagnosis of coeliac disease may be missed or delayed -- sometimes for years. Children with coeliac disease may experience failure to thrive, delayed growth and development, delayed onset of puberty, and short stature. Adults with untreated coeliac disease may also experience infertility. Some patients with coeliac disease have dermatitis herpetiformis, a disease that causes itchy blisters on the skin. There is also an increased risk for developing osteoporosis and intestinal lymphoma, a form of cancer.

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