Coeliac disease - The key facts What you need to know

Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune condition. When people with the disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye), their body attacks its own tissues. If left untreated, it can cause gut damage and serious health complications like osteoporosis. The only treatment is a strict gluten free diet for life. But you must keep gluten in your diet until you’re officially diagnosed. You need to be eating gluten to get an accurate result. But the good news is that once diagnosed and on a gluten free diet, symptoms usually start to improve quite quickly.

Watch out for these symptoms

It’s so important to shine a light on coeliac disease symptoms because they’re very wide ranging and easy to confuse with other things. If you or someone you know is persistently experiencing any of the symptoms below, it’s worth taking our online self-assessment to see if you should speak to your GP about getting tested:

  • Stomach problems, like pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or excessive wind
  • Persistent or unexplained nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anaemia
  • Any deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Tooth enamel problems
  • Liver abnormalities
  • Unexplained subfertility (not getting pregnant after a year of trying with no clear reason why)
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (loss of coordination, poor balance) and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet)

Take the assessment