Could Height Be Related To Celiac Disease?

With my tall Dutch amigos 🙂

I can’t remember what I was looking for when I came across discussion on this topic but I found it really interesting and thought I’d share it with you. Apparently there is evidence that height could in fact be related to celiac disease. Being short could be a symptom, particularly in children. Have you ever considered that your height could be a symptom of celiac disease?

Sometimes it feels like anything could be a symptom of celiac disease but I thought this topic was interesting simply because I’m a petite lass myself. I’m 5 feet or 1.52 metres or 60 inches depending on where you are in the world. I’m small. I guess it’s logical that if your body isn’t absorbing the vitamins, nutrients and minerals it needs then this could in some way disrupt your growth but I wouldn’t think height would be particularly relevant unless you developed celiac disease as a child. I doubt this is why I’m not tall. It’s probably because my parents aren’t very tall themselves but who knows? Perhaps it is related in some way.

This post on celiac disease and short stature says that “short stature can sometimes be normal, but sometimes it can be related to a medical problem — and it’s increasingly being recognized that short stature can be a symptom of celiac disease.” Que interesante.

Maria T. Greene, MD discusses non classic celiac symptoms to watch out for in children. She says that “the leading extraintestinal symptoms of celiac disease in children are iron deficiency anemia, short stature and delayed onset of puberty.” Muy interesante. Perhaps there is something in this after all.

What do you think about this? How tall are you?


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  • I would think that only applies if the person has their “outbreak” during childhood and it stunts their growth. I’m fairly tall for a woman (5’7″), and I didn’t start getting symptoms until I was 32. I think that’s the difference…

  • That’s what I was thinking too, Julie. I guess if you don’t get the celiac “trigger” until later in life all your growing would be done by then. Sometimes people have celiac for years and years without any symptoms though so perhaps those people are shorter than they may have been if they diagnosed earlier? I’d love to see further research on this topic. 🙂

  • Hi!
    Actually for my son, it was one of the symptoms. But the pediatrician did not pick it up. Every time I mentioned our son’s height, he used to say “well you’re not very tall, nor is his dad”.
    After his diagnosis, at the age of 7, he grew 10cm in one year thanks to the gluten free diet. 🙂

  • I am or was 5″ 9″. My brother who was not celiac so far as I know was 6′ 2″. We were both taller than both parents, he much more so that me. My father was about 5’6″ and since my diagnosis I suspect that he may have been celiac also because of symptons I remember. My mother was about the same height as my father. I was diagnosed 4 years ago after years of suffering, but I don’t think I had any symptoms before I was at least 45 or so. That leads me to believe that my growth was not stunted because of celiac disease!

  • Hannah B

    Sep 8th, 2012

    I have long thought that my height (or lack thereof) was because of celiac. When my height was projected as a 4-year-old I was supposed to be 5’6”, but now as a 20 year old I am only 5’2”. I never had a moment when I was especially “triggered” as far as I can remember, but I went gluten free a couple of years ago to help combat my other autoimmune disease, and realized in eating gluten after that I had stomach issues with it. However, my younger brother was diagnosed with celiac as an elementary schooler and grew in leaps and bounds after that.

  • I’m 58.5″ tall and I wear kids shoes…around a 2 or 2.5 depending on the shoe. I have had symptoms all of my life. Sometimes they were worse than other times…but it was always there. One of the things yhay upset me the most was the chronic blepharitis. It looked so ugly…mu eyelashes fell out and my eyelids were crusty, bloody and swollen. I needed vitamin A badley….it helps. I still have eye problems…not as severe, but I stay ontop of it now that I know what it is.

  • I would believe that there is a connection. The rest of my family is fairly tall (5’5″ to 5’8″) yet I’m very petite (5’1″). No one could really figure out why I’m shorter than everyone else either. :shrugs:

  • My 17 year old Celiac son is 6′ 3 1/4″. His dad is 6’1. His Grandfather (on Dad’s side) was 6’4″ before shrinking and an Uncle on Dad’s side is 6’4″. I am only 5’5″ (on a good day) and I am the reason he has Celiac.