Questions related to: Can you ‘grow out’ of coeliac disease?

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What is coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis?

Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten. The symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • diarrhoea
  • wind
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • mouth ulcers
  • sudden weight loss
  • anaemia
  • osteoporosis.

Once diagnosed, it is treated by following a gluten-free diet. Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manifestation of coeliac disease.

How common is coeliac disease?

It is thought that one in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease but only 30% of these people are diagnosed. We estimate there are nearly half a million people who have coeliac disease but aren’t yet diagnosed.

Is there a cure for coeliac disease?

Coeliac UK funded the initial project of Professor Bob Anderson which identified the most important gluten peptides causing problems for people with coeliac disease. This research formed the basis of further research and eventually the development of the NexVax2 vaccine. Work in this area is ongoing, the availability of a vaccine is still many years away whilst the essential process of testing for safety, dosage, effectiveness and possible side effects are determined.

Coeliac UK has also funded research which provides a greater understanding of the disease process in coeliac disease and research which can potentially identify new targets for treatment or a cure. 

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the body's bones become brittle and are more likely to break. People with coeliac disease may have low bone mineral density (BMD), which is what is used to diagnose osteoporosis.

How can I find out what foods I can eat?

We publish an annual Food and Drink Guide which lists thousands of foods you can eat, and a Gluten-free Checklist which are free to Members. You can order publications from our online shop.

How long do I have to eat gluten before being tested?

The recommendation is to eat some gluten in more than one meal every day for at least six weeks before getting tested for coeliac disease. Find out why you should keep eating gluten throughout the diagnosis process.

Can you recommend a coeliac disease specialist consultant for me to see?

Although we cannot recommend a specific consultant / Gastroenterologist, we suggest visiting or NHS choices for more information on consultants by speciality and geographic area.

I don’t have diarrhoea as a symptom, does that mean I don’t have coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is known as a 'multi system' disorder' - symptoms can affect any area of the body. Symptoms differ between individuals in terms of type and severity.

Surely a breadcrumb wouldn’t hurt someone with coeliac disease?

Even very small amounts of gluten can be damaging to people with coeliac disease. Therefore, taking sensible steps to avoid cross contamination with gluten is important.

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All frequently asked questions