Coeliac disease symptoms

The symptoms of coeliac disease vary from person to person and can range from very mild to severe.

This makes the condition very frustrating for sufferers because it can be hard to pinpoint. For example some people who really are suffering from coeliac disease may be under the impression that they have irritable bowel syndrome or perhaps wheat intolerance.

Symptoms 1So it's very important to keep an open mind until a medical diagnosis can be made.

Symptoms of eating gluten include diarrhoea, stomach pains and lethargy. The reaction is not the same as an allergic reaction and does not cause anaphylactic shock. The symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days.

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.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

  • severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind and/or constipation
  • persistent or unexplained nausea and vomiting
  • recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
  • any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
  • anaemia
  • tiredness
  • sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases)
  • mouth ulcers
  • skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • tooth enamel problems
  • liver abnormalities
  • unexplained subfertility
  • repeated miscarriages
  • neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (loss of coordination, poor balance) and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet)

There are other symptoms to look out for in young children and babies

If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed, you could have coeliac disease. The first step for diagnosis is to discuss your concerns with your GP. Do not remove gluten from your diet until you are diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

Is it coeliac disease?

If you’re still a little unsure, you might find it useful to take the Coeliac UK online assessment for coeliac disease. This short questionnaire will take you through the symptoms of coeliac disease and other risk factors.

Take the online assessment now

Other conditions that symptoms may be confused with

Some symptoms of coeliac disease may be mistaken as irritable bowel syndrome or wheat intolerance. The symptoms can also be put down to stress or getting older.

In the past, people with coeliac disease were expected to be underweight. In fact, most people with the condition are a normal weight or even overweight.

It can take some time before an accurate diagnosis is made.