An autoimmune disease that affects those who are genetically predisposed to it, Celiac disease affects people from mid-infancy onwards. It involves the small intestine and thus usually produces symptoms associated with the digestive process.
The symptoms of Celiac disease occur in people who develop an intolerance to gliadin, which is a gluten protein found in common grains of the Triticeae variety. Wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats, are the grains that trigger the disease and are also widely consumed.
Those with Celiac disease suffer an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine upon ingestion of foods rich in gliadin. Upon their consumption, an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase acts upon the protein in them, causing the immune system to cross-react with the small intestine tissue. The reaction is harmful to the villi—small, finger-like projections on the inner lining of the small intestine. Since the villi are responsible for nutrient absorption, Celiac disease not only leads to digestive symptoms but also hampers healthy assimilation of essential food-based nutrients.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of Celiac disease are of a somewhat non-specific nature, thus causing them to be confused with other, less serious conditions such as simple indigestion. And if not managed appropriately, Celiac disease makes the body vulnerable to other diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, epilepsy, migraines, and—in some extreme cases, even intestinal cancer.
There is no cure for Celiac disease. The only way to manage the condition is by adoption of a gluten-free diet. However, to make such a lifestyle modification, one needs to be properly diagnosed, thus necessitating familiarity with its symptoms.
Here are 10 signs that may occur in individuals with Celiac disease.
1. Loose Bowel Movements
People with celiac disease suffer from loose bowel movements chronically, unless they transition to a gluten-free diet. Their stool is pale, watery, and very malodorous. Like any other digestive intolerance, those whose bodies react atypically to gliadin experience indigestion. Since the functioning of the villi are compromised due to intolerance to gluten, fat and other nutrients like iron are not absorbed from food. These are then responsible for the watery consistency of the stool as well as the foul odor. Many times, those unaware of their condition get used to passing loose stools and do not realize that they are suffering from celiac disease; this delay tends to cause several health-related complications later on.