What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is a common chronic autoimmune condition that affects around one in every 100 people. The condition is a reaction of the immune system to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. You are more likely to develop Coeliac Disease if you have a first degree relative (e.g. mother, father, brother or sister) with the illness.
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
Symptoms of the condition can vary depending on how severe it is but sufferers may experience the following:
- Nausea and/ or vomiting
- Excessive wind
- Mouth ulcers
- Unexpected and sudden weight loss
- Hair loss
- Liver abnormalities
- Repeated miscarriages
Some people can also suffer from a skin complaint called dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes itchy red raised blisters. The rash is usually found on the elbow, knees and buttocks. Neurological problems can also occur with Coeliac Disease such as Ataxia (poor balance and coordination), and Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage to your extremities – tingling and numbness in the hands and feet).
Why might a person with Coeliac Disease suffer with bowel issues?
It’s quite common for people with Coeliac Disease to be misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome as some of the symptoms can be quite similar. People with Coeliac Disease can suffer with diarrhoea and urgency, bloating and abdominal pains.
There is no cure for the condition, however it can be controlled relatively well by following a strict gluten-free diet – see our Treatments page for more information. To find out about treatments for Coeliac Disease and further resources, click the links above to navigate to the pages.
Coeliac UK have a lot of information and support for people living with coeliac disease, from diagnosis to treatment and diet advice.