Early symptoms of celiac disease

celiacThe early symptoms of celiac disease often appear the very first time that a person – who may or may not be an infant – is exposed to gluten. However, the symptoms may also develop much later after gluten exposure. The classic, early signs of this condition are diarrhea and loss of weight, which tend to occur during childhood as well – for instance following the introduction of solids like cereals.

Celiac disease symptoms


  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Not gaining weight at a healthy pace.

Older children

  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Short stature.
  • Delayed puberty.
  • Neurologic issues (ADHD, learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination).


  • Iron deficiency-induced anemia.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Softening of bones.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis.
  • Dental enamel damage.
  • Injury to nervous system.
  • Joint pain.
  • Decreased spleen functioning.
  • Acid reflux.
  • Heartburn.

The cause or causes of celiac disease have not been clearly established, but it has been associated with other conditions.

Risk factors for celiac disease include:

  • A family history of celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Turner syndrome.
  • Williams syndrome.
  • Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disorder.
  • Microscopic colitis.
  • Selective immunoglobulin IgA deficiency.

Furthermore, it runs in the family, and like the 2003 movie of the same name the potential complications are not pretty. Complications such as:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Loss of calcium and bone density.
  • Infertility and miscarriage.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Cancer.

This is why it is so important to identify the early symptoms of celiac disease in order to diagnose and treat the condition. Some of the tests that can be used to diagnose this illness are:

  • Blood tests.
  • Endoscopy.
  • Capsule endoscopy.
  • Serologic tests.
  • Anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies.
  • Endomysial antibodies (EMA).
  • Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) antibodies.
  • Genetic screening tests.

The only treatment for celiac disease is to forgo gluten altogether. The main gluten offender is wheat, but many other foods contain the protein known as gluten, including but not limited to:

  • Barley.
  • Bulgur.
  • Durum.
  • Farina.
  • Graham flour.
  • Malt.
  • Rye.
  • Semolina.
  • Spelt.
  • Triticale.
  • Bouillons and broths.
  • Breading.  
  • Brown rice syrup.
  • Cake flour.
  • Caramel color.
  • Communion wafers.
  • Couscous.
  • Creamed or breaded vegetables.
  • Dextrin.
  • Dry roasted nuts.
  • Fried chicken.
  • French fries.   
  • Gravies and sauces.    
  • Imitation bacon, crab, or other seafood.
  • Luncheon and processed meats.
  • Malt or malt flavoring.
  • Marinades.
  • Matzo.
  • Modified food starch.
  • Non-dairy creamer.
  • Pastas.
  • Salad dressings.
  • Seasonings.
  • Some herbal teas and flavored coffees.
  • Soup mixes and canned soups.
  • Soy sauce and soy sauce solids.
  • Spreads, soft cheeses, and dips.
  • Stuffings.
  • Thickeners.
  • Udon noodles.
  • Wheat-free products containing barley or rye flour.    
  • Yogurts with wheat starch.

Conversely, basic foods allowed in a gluten-free diet include:

  • Fresh, plain meats.
  • Fish and poultry that aren't breaded, batter-coated or marinated.
  • Chicken.
  • Legumes.
  • Nuts.
  • Seeds.
  • Oils.
  • Milk.
  • Cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Most dairy products.
  • Potatoes.
  • Vegetables.
  • Wine and distilled liquors, ciders and spirits.
  • Amaranth.
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat.
  • Sorghum.
  • Chickpeas.
  • Teff.
  • Corn.
  • Cornmeal.
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean).
  • Pure corn tortillas.
  • Quinoa.
  • Rice.
  • Tapioca.

Additionally, a doctor or dietitian may prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements, for instance:

Related Read:

- Treatment and Tips on Celiac Disease