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Top 10 Symptoms of Celiac Disease

The 10 Most Common Symptoms of Celiac Disease Are Not What Researchers Thought

symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivityThe traditional or classic symptoms of celiac disease reported in medical textbooks are – severe diarrhea and malabsorption accompanied by villous atrophy of the small intestines. Symptoms are typically present in pediatric patients. Adults are not as frequently considered for the diagnosis.

Basically, most doctors are taught to look for severe diarrhea and vomiting in children. If a patient does not present this way, gluten sensitivity should not be considered as a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the symptoms of gluten sensitivity are much more diverse and many people suffer for years without a diagnosis due to medical ignorance.

Recently, a 14 year study with 770 celiac patients was published in the journal, BMC Gastroenterology. The outcome of the study paints a completely different picture. A summary of the results concluded the following.

Two thirds of the patients did not have classical symptoms of celiac disease. Some of the most common intestinal symptoms were bloating, canker sores, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), constipation, and acid reflux. Even more common, were extraintestinal symptoms (symptoms not related to the GI tract). These included osteoporosis, liver disease, anemia, recurring miscarriages, and a multitude of autoimmune diseases to include hypothyroid, dermatitis herpetiformis (skin disease), and type I diabetes mellitus.


Umberto Volta, Giacomo Caio, Vincenzo, Stanghellini, and Roberto De Giorgio. The changing clinical profile of celiac disease: a 15-year experience (1998-2012) in an Italian referral center. BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:194

The Many Heads of Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac

This is not the first study to elucidate the varying manifestations that gluten can have on people. You can read more research on the topic here. Bottom line- gluten can affect different people in different ways. If you suspect that you are reacting to gluten, but don’t have the classic symptoms of celiac disease, remember this – The classic symptoms aren’t classic anymore. In my Sugar Land clinic, some of the most common conditions I see improve on a gluten free diet include:

If you think you might be gluten sensitive, take this short, free quiz to help you determine if going gluten free is right for you.

What Symptoms Do Your Experience When You Get “Glutened”?

Share your story with us below. You never know when your experience may help change the life of someone else. You might have symptoms completely unrelated to those listed above. What are they?

12 Responses

  1. My first hint that I have been glutened is bloating and smelly flatulence :-/ then I feel like I need to do no2s but am immediately constipated. It honestly feels like my sphincter is not working. Along with joint pain and chronic fatigue, this will all last about 3 days. I’ve learnt to be so careful because it is awful and reminds me of just how sick I was before I was diagnosed 5 years ago.

  2. I know when I have had too much gluten, I have consistent joint pain, my fibromyalgia flairs up, gas, bloating, IBS symptoms then I get hit with almost instanious cramping and needing to find a bathroom. I have to be very careful or I can get caught in a horribly embarrassing situation very quickly

  3. My child first issue is Nero – mood changes from happy kid turns emotional hates every thing -unable to understand simple things – unable to focus – brain fog and migraines for three days.
    improvements = increase intake of food – constipation pains went away and change in body odor (yeasty smell )disappeared also improved off gluten. Hair and skin improved. Schoolwork improved – sports improved – allergies side effects to other things improved. Joint pain improved –
    My husband snoring / sleep apnea improved -lost weight
    My blood work collesstrol improved
    Belly bloat gone
    Migraines improved
    Gained weight
    My other younger child poop improved from soft to normal and had a grown two sizes in two months.

  4. Has anyone found an effective method for treating joint pain with celiac? My joints scream at me and I don’t like to use too many narcotics or anti inflammatory meds and I can’t do marijuana because I’m a nurse. Anything works for you?

  5. Irritable , joint pain and fatigue and just found out that the spray on apples might have gluten in them as when apples stopped pain is much less and fatigue is much less. read the No Grain no Pain. retain less information when glutened

  6. Eat whole foods and buy organic. I was told I would be in a wheelchair and that was when I was 50 am kissing 80 this year .Try buying organic and stay away from apples I believe they are sprayed with something that has gluten in them. I followed Dr Amy Myers for years and now I follow Dr Osborne as well. He is a gift from God. Wish I could afford his products Can’t also live in Canada. And yes I am not in a wheelchair as I was a practical nurse and cracked ribs just buy turning patients.I have never taken any meds followed a combined diet from a
    naturopath and did acupuncture when I first got R/A and was much better in 8 weeks and by the way he did not have a license the best Quack I ever met.

  7. Before I got my husband and myself tested for celiac I had anxiety and migraines, constipation/diarrhea, canker sores in my mouth, and joint pain. His biggest symptoms were sleep apnea and overweight that he has battled since he graduated high school. It seems to me most everyone misses the emotional/psychological aspects of this disease which usually are the first to show up.

  8. My first memory as a 3 yr old was refusing to eat pancakes or anything dry like cake, bread, pie crust but gluten snuck into me through meatloaf, gravy, whatever needed thickening. It was easier to go hungry than eat except for fruit and vegetables. I never felt good had brain fog, muscle weakness, my nails peeled, my joints were weak. When glutened I’d get a jolt I referred to as a horse kick in my upper right quadrant about 15 minutes after eating suspect food. That was my trigger to stop that food. As I got older I developed hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, my hair became brittle and fell out, joint and muscle weakness and pain increased, my teeth became loose, my eyes were so dry I lived with drops in my hand, brain fog was worse, liver disease, back pain so bad I could hardly stand, gas, chemically sensitive, bloating, constipation followed by diarrhea, weight gain from 125 to over 240 lbs, in a year, IBS, leaky gut, and I was still avoiding dry foods not knowing what I was trying to avoid. EVERYTHING MADE ME SICK. MD’s and endocrinologists were worthless Then at 64 my Chiropactor told me about a book on gluten and I learned it was every where. I began reading labels. When I turned 65, in 2012, I asked for an endoscopy. The report said I had damage to my duodenum consistent with celiac disease but intestinal biopsy was negative. The celiac specialist said I didn’t have celiac disease because there wasn’t any intestinal damage. 3 years ago my gastrointestinal Dr took a blood test and announced I didn’t have celiac disease. I joined blogs on gluten sensitivity and am continuously learning more and this site had help with learning about foods that act like gluten. I’m 73 now and have more energy, less pain, and can eat with more confidence than ever in my life. I still get glutened and I suffer for 6 months usually but not as severely as before. Our health care system needs a cadaver before it can accurately diagnose some serious diseases.

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