What You Should Know About Celiac Disease
Do you experience GI (gastrointestinal) problems when you eat gluten-containing products? GI concerns that arise after eating gluten, like diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and oily stools, can result from celiac disease. An autoimmune disorder, celiac disease triggers an irregular immune reaction to the protein found in grains called gluten. This immune reaction occurs when gluten is consumed, resulting in uncomfortable effects. Though there is presently no cure for celiac disease, the gastrointestinal doctors at GI Alliance can help diagnose and manage celiac disease symptoms.
How does celiac disease affect the body?
Those with celiac disease should seek an official diagnosis and medical treatment from a trusted GI provider. Celiac disease could cause harm to the body if the condition is not diagnosed or treated. This GI condition can have a long-term impact on the small bowel, where the body absorbs most vitamins and other nutrients. When gluten is absorbed in the small intestine, it triggers the immune system to respond. The body then releases a host of antibodies to destroy it. Such antibodies may damage the tissue in your small intestine, which may impair your digestive system's ability to collect nutritional value from food.
Other potential long-term effects of celiac disease are:
- Ulcers or scarring in the GI tract
- Manifestation of new food intolerances
- Liver conditions
- Compromised immune system
- Increased risk of intestinal cancer
How is celiac disease treated?
The prime approach to treating celiac disease is to avoid eating gluten. Once you have been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, you can limit uncomfortable symptoms by cutting out gluten. Over time, the intestinal lining should begin to heal and once again be able to take in nutrients. Since there is no known cure for this disease, individuals will most likely want to maintain a diet void of gluten for the rest of their life to keep the damage to their small intestines at bay. Other treatments that may be helpful are:
- Prescribed medication
- A good follow-up care routine
If you are seeking celiac disease treatment, the team of gastrointestinal doctors at GI Alliance is here to help. While the main form of treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, it is important that you are diagnosed before you cut out gluten completely to find out if it even negatively affects you.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: How do they differ?
To many, gluten intolerance and celiac disease may seem alike. Both lead to disagreeable GI symptoms after eating gluten. However, the similarities stop there. As mentioned above, celiac disease is known to cause an irregular reaction in the body that may have a negative impact on your digestive system over time. While a gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, it should not lead to long-term damage to your digestive tract. It can most often be treated with digestive enzyme supplements to reduce symptoms. Symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease symptoms are nearly identical, so if you notice such symptoms, you may want to be checked by a GI doctor to determine which GI condition you have.
Find help for celiac disease
The team at GI Alliance is devoted to educating patients on celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in 133 people is diagnosed with celiac disease. Having celiac disease can completely change how you live life, typically for the best. Once you’ve removed gluten from your diet, your body can start to heal from the damage caused by repeatedly consuming gluten. As your body heals, your risk of developing any long-term effects decreases. To learn more, get in touch with a GI Alliance location near you. You can relax in the hands of our GI specialists, who can help preserve and protect your digestive wellness.