There are many symptoms of celiac disease. In fact, the disease often rears its ugly head in the form of many symptoms – some digestive, others nervous system issues, as well as other classic signs of chronic illness and inflammation.
Experts say there are approximately 300 known celiac disease symptoms!Experts say there are approximately 300 known celiac disease symptoms! Click To Tweet
If you experience one or more of these symptoms of celiac disease, consider getting yourself tested. Celiac disease is more common than you might think: 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, but many don’t know they have it and its remains undiagnosed in most. Celiac disease is a “hidden disease” because it can manifest itself in many forms and can take years for someone to figure out what is wrong with them. With education and understanding, more people will get the diagnosis they need to start healing their gut and nourishing themselves back to health. (Read: Healing from Celiac Disease: How I Healed My Body to Reclaim My Health)
Below I share a few of the telltale signs that may signal you might have symptoms of celiac disease. Please consult with your doctor. The information provide is not for the purpose of diagnosing or treating any of these conditions; rather it’s a way for you to become informed so you can intelligently discuss what ails you (and how it might be related to celiac disease) with your doctor. Remember, you are your #1 health advocate!
8 Roaring Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Digestive Issues
Classic celiac disease symptoms typically manifest themselves in the digestive system and gut. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas… you name it, most celiacs have suffered silently from these symptoms for years. For me, I thought bloating was normal, but soon after discussing it with my doctor, I learned that it is not normal at all! My bloating was a constant in my life. I would actually wake up feeling great, but by the end of the day, my belly would bloat out like a balloon. The fact that I felt great after 10 hours of NOT eating (while I was sleeping) was a sign that food was causing the painful bloating, and it built up throughout the day.
If your bloating is constant and/or painful, you likely suffer from either celiac disease or other digestive disorders and should consult your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Malnourishment
Celiacs are almost always deficient in essential vitamins like iron, Vitamin B and Vitamin D. This is because the lining of the small intestine’s villi (the villi’s purpose is to absorb nutrients from the food we consume) is severely damaged in those with celiac disease. For children, this can lead to smaller statures and failure to thrive. Getting a proper diagnosis early can ensure a child reaches his or her full potential.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Chronic Fatigue
When your body isn’t absorbing nutrients like it should, as in the case of those with celiac disease, chronic fatigue can set in. Prior to diagnosis, celiacs says they often feel sluggish and tired – including me. I’ve always had low energy levels – it was worse before my diagnosis but it’s still something I fight each and every day.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Bone and Joint Pain
Luckily I have never suffered from bone and joint pain, but it is definitely one of the symptoms of celiac disease. Your body is basically telling you something isn’t right. Your body is inflamed and such inflammation often manifests itself in your bones and joints. My grandmother suffered from severe and disfiguring arthritis – I can’t help but wonder if she had celiac disease and never knew it.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Nervous System Damage
If you suffer from depression, panic attacks, anxiety or migraines, it might be another one of the many symptoms of celiac disease. The gut is often called our “second brain” because 90% of our nervous system is controlled by our gut! If your gut is out of sorts, your brain might feel that way too.
Jennifer Esposito bravely talks about her chronic anxiety as one of the many damaging effects undiagnosed celiac disease had on her body. This is also why other diseases, such as ADHD, dementia and Alzheimer’s can be tied to diet and often relieved when someone gets off gluten (studies are still in progress and unknown at this point).
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Canker Sores in Mouth
Canker sores (unrelated to herpes) can often occur in celiac disease sufferers. The reason for this is unknown. If you suffer from canker sores, and you have any other of the many symptoms of celiac disease listed here, consult your doctor about getting tested for celiac.
I have had canker sores from time to time… but one mouth issue I did get all the time was called “geographic tongue.” My doctor and dentist could not explain this phenomenon, but given that canker sores are linked to celiac disease, I have a sneaky suspicion that geographic tongue is linked to celiac disease too. My geographic tongue symptoms have greatly improved after going on a strict gluten-free diet.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Skin Rashes
Rashes on your skin, called dermatitis herpetiformis, are often one of the symptoms of celiac disease. I remember when I was diagnosed with celiac disease and I asked my friend, who is a dermatologist, about the link between celiac disease and skin issues. He told me he was very aware of celiac disease and the impact it has on one’s skin. It is said that about 25% of people with celiac disease also have dermatitis herpetiformis.
My skin has always been sensitive to prolonged sun and humidity exposure and I had little bumps on my arms (they went away after going gluten-free).
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: Infertility and Miscarriages
Research suggests that infertility and miscarriages can be linked to untreated celiac disease, including menstrual disorders, unexplained infertility, failure for baby to come to term, low birth weight babies, etc. In fact, research suggests that women with unexplained infertility have a higher rate of celiac disease too. Furthermore, men with celiac disease can suffer from reproductive challenges too. One study of men with celiac disease found that almost half of them had hypogonadism, sexual dysfunction, or poor semen quality, all which can result in increased infertility.
There are many other symptoms of celiac disease – about 300 of them – too many for me to list here. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a checklist you can refer to on its website to help you assess whether you should talk to your doctor about celiac disease. As prior mentioned, it is very important that you talk with your doctor about any of these symptoms you’re having. Ask to be tested for celiac disease.
Remember, you are your #1 health advocate so start advocating and healing yourself from within.
Check out these articles too:
- 30 Tell-Tale Signs You Have Celiac Disease
- What You Need to Know about Celiac Disease
- 10 Symptoms of Gluten-Sensitivity or Celiac Disease
- 12 Myths and Lies about Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet