Your stomach has been hurting for a while, but you don’t know why. It might be something you’re eating. For people with celiac disease, gluten can cause stomach pain, among other symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about the condition.
What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which affected people have an adverse reaction to gluten. After consuming gluten, the immune system of someone with celiac disease overreacts to its presence and damages the small intestine in the process. Because of the progressive damage to the organ responsible for nutrient absorption, people with celiac disease who consume gluten often do not get the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease has a wide variety of symptoms that can affect several areas, including digestive health, mental clarity, and even reproductive health. Some possible signs of celiac disease in children are diarrhea, constipation, ADHD, weight loss, fatigue, and irritability. Some possible symptoms for adults include arthritis, anxiety, depression, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and infertility. There are many more symptoms you can experience, so if you encounter concerning changes in your state of health, visit your doctor.
Should You Be Screened?
If one of your immediate family members has celiac disease, your chances of having it are 10 times higher than the average person. You should receive a screening if you have this risk factor, experience symptoms of the disease, or have an associated autoimmune disorder. If you think you may have celiac, ask your doctor if the screening is right for you.
Living with Celiac Disease
There aren’t any medications that can remedy the effects of gluten on someone with celiac disease. The only real treatment is living gluten-free. There are several gluten-free alternatives to your favorite foods so you won’t miss out. If you love pasta, try some chickpea pasta, which is loaded with protein and has no gluten. Experiment with different options on the market to find your favorites!
If you think you or your child has celiac disease, schedule an appointment with a trusted Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group primary care physician. If your blood tests positive, they can refer you to a gastroenterologist for further testing and treatment.
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