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Celiac Disease Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms vary and may start in childhood or adulthood. Children often have different symptoms than adults. Symptoms may not develop if a large section of the intestine is undamaged. Malnutrition may produce the first signs of the condition, which are often the most serious.

Signs and symptoms may include:

In Children

In Adults

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Foul-smelling, light-colored, oily stool
  • Weight loss
  • Hearty or a poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bone pain
  • Behavior changes
  • Muscle cramps and joint pain
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash
  • Dental problems
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Altered sensation in the limbs
  • Anemia
  • Osteopenia


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. It may take a long time to get a diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment reduce the risk of complications.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests—to detect the presence of gluten antibodies (produced by the immune system) and look for evidence of malabsorption (anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies)
  • Stool tests—to check for evidence of malabsorption
  • Endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube inserted down the throat to examine the intestine
  • Biopsy —removal of a small sample of tissue during endoscopy to test for inflammation and tissue damage
  • Repeat biopsy—a biopsy performed several weeks after treatment begins to confirm the diagnosis

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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