What Should I Understand About Celiac Disease?
Do you experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms when you consume gluten-containing products? GI issues that manifest after ingesting gluten, such as bloating, diarrhea, oily stools, or abdominal pain, may be indicators of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that stimulates an abnormal immune reaction to the protein in grains called gluten. This immune response arises when gluten is ingested, resulting in unpleasant symptoms. Though there is no cure for celiac disease at this time, Digestive Health Specialists in Kansas City, MO can diagnose the condition and help you manage its symptoms.
How can celiac disease affect the body?
Individuals who think they may have celiac disease should obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment from a gastrointestinal doctor. Celiac disease can damage the body when it is left undiagnosed and untreated. It could have a long-term impact on the small intestine, where the majority of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are taken up by the body. When gluten is absorbed by the small bowel, it triggers the immune system to respond. The body then sends antibodies to attack it. These antibodies may damage the tissue in the small intestine, which can impair the digestive system's ability to gain nourishment from food items.
Other potential chronic effects of celiac disease include:
- Becoming immunocompromised
- Liver conditions
- Ulcers or scarring in the GI tract
- Elevated risk of cancer in the intestine
- Development of new food intolerances
What are the treatment options for celiac disease?
Overall, the best approach to treating celiac disease is to remove gluten from your diet. Once you've been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, you can reduce the chance of future symptoms by not eating gluten. Over time, the lining in your intestine should begin to heal and absorb nutrients again. Since there is currently no cure for celiac disease, you'll likely need to maintain a gluten-free diet for life to reduce the risk of damage to your small intestine. Other celiac treatments that may be helpful include:
- Doctor-suggested nutritional supplements
- Prescription medication
- A good follow-up care routine
If you are seeking celiac disease treatment in Kansas City, MO, the gastrointestinal doctors at Digestive Health Specialists may be able to help. Even though treatment for celiac disease is largely a gluten-free diet, it's crucial to receive a diagnosis before you stop eating gluten entirely to determine its impact on your body.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: Is there a difference?
To many, gluten intolerance and celiac disease may seem alike. Both lead to uncomfortable GI symptoms after eating gluten. However, the similarities don’t go further than that. As previously mentioned, celiac disease is known to cause an atypical reaction in the body that can negatively impact the digestive system over time. Gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, but it does not harm the digestive tract. Gluten intolerance can usually be addressed with digestive enzyme supplements that are known to reduce symptoms. The symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease are very similar. If you have symptoms after eating gluten, it's important to consult a digestive health specialist to learn which GI condition you have.
Find care for celiac disease in Kansas City, MO
At Digestive Health Specialists, our team is passionate about raising celiac disease awareness. One in every 133 individuals is diagnosed with celiac disease. Having the condition can change how you live, usually in a favorable way. After removing gluten from your diet, your body can heal from any damage caused by consuming the protein. As your body heals, your risk of developing any long-term effects decreases. Reach out to a Digestive Health Specialists location today to request a consultation. You can trust our gastrointestinal specialists in Kansas City, MO to help protect your digestive wellness.