Celiac Disease Symptoms

Are some of these symptoms familiar?

Recently I was speaking to a friend who suffers from bad anemia and bloating after eating. She has had this for a while and doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint the reason. A huge siren went off inside my head when I heard this. This sounded just like me three years ago before I was diagnosed. My friend said she would never have considered that anemia and bloating could be related but I can and you probably can too. Celiac disease and gluten free living are on my mind A LOT and so I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up on symptoms which could very well be the result of celiac disease. I asked her a few more questions to find out whether she had any other symptoms commonly associated with untreated celiac disease. She has many. I encouraged her to speak to her doctor about getting tested. I hope she will.

This conversation led me to write this post. I thought highlighting some of the symptoms of untreated celiac disease could be useful for those of you who are new to the gluten free game and a little lost. In my case all of the terrible things that were going wrong with my body were going wrong because I was eating gluten. If you think this could be your problem too then keep reading.

These are the symptoms I had which led me to seek help and in turn be diagnosed with celiac disease. All of these things improved not too long after starting my 100% gluten free diet.

  • No period for 10 months
  • Constant bloating
  • Very low energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Anemia

Symptoms of celiac disease can vary so widely from person to person ( and some sufferers don’t have any symptoms at all) which is why it’s often so difficult to diagnose. Here are some of the possible symptoms (from the Coeliac UK website). This is by no means an exhaustive list and similarly some people have few or none of these symptoms. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from un-diagnosed celiac disease I would urge you to speak to your doctor about being tested.

  • diarrhea, excessive wind, and/or constipation
  • persistent or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting
  • recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
  • any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
  • tiredness, low energy and/or headaches
  • weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • mouth ulcers
  • hair loss (alopecia)
  • skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis (DH))
  • tooth enamel problems
  • osteoporosis
  • depression
  • infertility/missed periods
  • repeated miscarriages
  • joint and/or bone pain
  • neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle co-ordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).
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  • Celiac Symptoms

    Mar 2nd, 2012

    I have pretty much all of these though I can’t be sure with the hairloss (I shave my head) and my periods are MORE than the average gal. In fact, I’m going through 3 weeks straight of periods atm. Last month was godly though – it was just one week.

    I keep up with my supplements (Iron, VitB, etc) but it feels like a losing game. 🙁

  • In addition to a lot of these symptoms, I also had incredibly painful acne and facial scarring.
    Thanks for providing such a comprehensive list!

  • I haven’t had my period in years, and I’m only 21 🙁 I’m going to try a G-F diet as a test, because I had some spotting a few weeks ago after I eliminated grains from my diet for a few days…
    I’ll keep you guys updated :p

  • K, have you ever been tested for celiac? A lack of period can certainly be related to undiagnosed celiac disease. Do you weight a lot? If you are underweight this could definitely cause it to stop too. I hope you find out what’s causing it soon!

  • Melissa

    Jul 6th, 2012

    This actually makes me angry. I’m older now, in my 30s, and have only begun a gluten-free diet as the result of an elimination diet that pinpointed gluten as the cause of the headaches and extreme fatigue that have been plaguing me for many, many years. My doctor(s) still won’t consider me as a candidate for celiac testing and I don’t know if I would want to endure a gluten challenge now, but they do support a diet change to rid me of my symptoms. And I have discovered I need to watch cross-contamination, etc. just as closely as if I had a celiac diagnosis. But what makes me angriest (is that a word?) from your post is the reference to missed periods. Twice in my life I have gone many many months, 8, 9, 10 months, without having my period. Even once in high school to the point of being accused of being pregnant by my mother (I wasn’t). And both times, my doctor gave me a pill to “jump start” my cycle. And after the birth of my 2nd child, I again went nearly 6 months without a period and had to receive an injection to start it up again. This makes me angry that no one would put this and the other symptoms together. I could have been free of my pain and had so much energy if I had just discovered this was the cause of it way back then. Would it have been difficult? Yes. But at least it would have been an answer. Instead of just being told I needed iron. I needed a prescription. I needed to rest more. So angry.

  • nicole

    Jul 6th, 2012

    In hs I went 4 months without a period. Dr said I just need to be on birth control. I’ve been gluten free for 2 months to see if this will help among my other symptoms.

  • For 20 years I complained to a dozen doctors about my gas, bloated, anxiety, depression, rash, tingling in my hand, joint pain. Their answer was always – you have an A personality so you are stressed out, your thyroid medicine dosage needs adjustment, you are swallowing air. Finally I self diagnosed myself, I stopped eating gluten and immediately the symptoms disappeared. I wrote to several of those doctors about my misdiagnosis/nondiagnosis. No doctor replied to my letter including my thyroid doctor who treated me for 20 years!