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Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

6 of 7 in Series: The Essentials of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity share some of the same symptoms. Although the actual damage occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, specifically in the small intestine, the symptoms manifest in many different ways and often show up throughout your entire body.

Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have hundreds of symptoms; the following lists don’t contain them all, but are a good sampling:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms: These are some of the “classic” — although not the most common — symptoms of celiac disease:

    • Abdominal pain and distension

    • Acid reflux

    • Bloating

    • Constipation

    • Diarrhea

    • Gas and flatulence

    • Greasy, foul-smelling, floating stools

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Weight loss or weight gain

  • Nongastrointestinal symptoms: Interestingly, although gluten sensitivity and celiac disease affect the gut, most people’s symptoms are not gastrointestinal in nature. This partial list includes just some of the more than 250 symptoms not centered in the digestive tract.

    • Fatigue and weakness (due to iron-deficiency anemia)

    • Vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies

    • Headaches (including migraines)

    • Joint/bone pain

    • Depression, irritability, listlessness, and mood disorders

    • “Fuzzy brain” or an inability to concentrate

    • Infertility

    • Abnormal menstrual cycles

    • Dental enamel deficiencies and irregularities

    • Seizures

    • Clumsiness (ataxia)

    • Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    • Respiratory problems

    • Canker sores (apthus ulcers)

    • Lactose intolerance

    • Eczema/psoriasis

    • Rosacea (a skin disorder)

    • Acne

    • Hashimoto’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus erythematosus, and other autoimmune disorders

    • Early onset osteoporosis

    • Hair loss (alopecia)

    • Bruising easily

    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

    • Muscle cramping

    • Nosebleeds

    • Swelling and inflammation

    • Night blindness

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