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Symptoms of coeliac disease

Dr. Schär Institute Symptoms Coeliac disease Gluten intolerance Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is a frequent symptom of coeliac disease
The clinical picture of coeliac disease has changed over recent years and symptoms are now known to be extremely diverse.
Typical symptoms of coeliac disease include altered bowel habit, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain and bloating, nausea and faltering growth (in children). However, a range of additional symptoms or medical complications may also indicate the presence of the disease – including; iron deficiency anaemia, osteoporosis, amenorrhoea, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, unexplained infertility, neurological disturbances, thyroid and liver diseases.

Presenting features [1]

Gastrointestinal symptoms Extraintestinal symptoms
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Anaemia (iron, vitamin B12, folic acid)
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Short stature/growth failure
  • Irritability (children)
  • Alopecia
  • Osteoporosis and tooth enamel defects
  • Recurrent aphthous stomatitis
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Fertility disorders
  • Abnormal liver biochemistry
  • Chronic fatigue
  1. NICE Guideline NG20: Recognition, Assessment & Management of Coeliac Disease. National Institute of Clinical Excellence 2015.

Further information on this topic

Professional articles 1

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Studies 1

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What is refractory coeliac disease and how is it diagnosed? An insight into current research

This article presents an overview of current understanding on refractory coeliac disease and future developments in this area.

>> Read more... <<<
Schumann, M;

Usefulness of Symptoms to Screen for Celiac Disease


To describe the frequency of symptoms and associated conditions among screening-detected celiac disease (CD) cases and non-CD children and to evaluate questionnaire-based case-finding targeting the general population.

In a population-based CD screening of 12-year-olds, children and their parents completed questionnaires on CD-associated symptoms and conditions before knowledge of CD status. Questionnaire data for those who had their CD detected in the screening (n = 153) were compared with those of children with normal levels of CD markers (n = 7016). Hypothetical case-finding strategies were also evaluated. Questionnaires were returned by 7054 (98%) of the children and by 6294 (88%) of their parents.

Symptoms were as common among screening-detected CD cases as among non-CD children. The frequency of children with screening-detected CD was similar when comparing the groups with and without any CD-related symptoms (2.1% vs 2.1%; P = .930) or CD-associated conditions (3.6% vs 2.1%; P = .07). Case-finding by asking for CD-associated symptoms and/or conditions would have identified 52 cases (38% of all cases) at a cost of analyzing blood samples for 2282 children (37%) in the study population.

The current recommended guidelines for finding undiagnosed CD cases, so-called active case-finding, fail to identify the majority of previously undiagnosed cases if applied in the general population of Swedish 12-year-olds. Our results warrant further studies on the effectiveness of CD case-finding in the pediatric population, both at the clinical and population-based levels.

Resource: Pediatrics. 2014 Feb;133(2):211-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3765. Epub 2014 Jan 13
Rosén, A; Sandström, O; Carlsson, A; et al.;
2014 January