Celiac disease

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Celiac disease is a lifelong condition. Learn about the symptoms of celiac disease, how celiac disease is diagnosed, how it is treated and how gluten affects people with celiac disease.

Key points

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which any contact with gluten (a family of food proteins) triggers a reaction from the body’s defense (immune) system.
  • Gluten is found in rye, barley, triticale and all forms of wheat.
  • In celiac disease, the lining of the small intestine is damaged by the immune system reaction. This means that it will be harder for your child’s body to get nutrients from foods.
  • Common symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, constipation, tiredness, headaches and poor growth. Some people experience no symptoms at all.
  • The only treatment for celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet for life. Your child should never start a gluten-free diet before your doctor confirms the diagnosis.
Last updated: March 15th 2021