May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Know the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Most people are familiar with the protein known as gluten. In modern times, it’s not unusual to know a few people that live a gluten-free way of life even if you’re not following one yourself. However, gluten intolerance might be indicative of something more serious – a health complication referred to as celiac disease. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, we endeavor to help patients identify the signs of celiac disease and learn how to live with this condition. There's no better month to learn about celiac disease symptoms, signs, causes, and treatments than May, designated as Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Read on to explore further details about celiac disease from our Tulsa, OK gastrointestinal specialists.

What should I know about celiac disease?

An autoimmune disease, celiac disease results in damage to the small intestine when gluten is eaten. In the presence of this hereditary disease, the body is prompted to carry out an immune reaction after gluten is consumed that can injure the villi, or the thin fingerlike fringe lining of the small intestine, which prevents the body from receiving nutrients correctly.

At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, we wish to provide families with the necessary information about celiac disease given that about 1 in 100 individuals suffers from this condition. Patients who have celiac disease are at an elevated risk for developing atherosclerotic heart disease (coronary artery disease) and are four times more likely to get cancer of the small bowel.

Know the symptoms and signs of celiac disease

Around 2.5 million individuals in the United States have undiagnosed cases of celiac disease. It’s very important to recognize the symptoms of this disease, as if left untreated, it could result in concerning chronic health problems.

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Fainting or weakness
  • Symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Loose bowel movements
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the feet
  • Bloating
  • Dental decay
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis rash, typically on the buttock, knees, or elbows (referred to as “celiac rash”)
  • Excess gas

What is the process for diagnosing celiac disease?

The GI specialists at Adult Gastroenterology Associates perform diagnostic testing and assist those with celiac disease in Tulsa, OK in controlling this concern. To conduct a test for celiac disease, we’ll begin by collecting an in-depth health and family history. Since individuals with a first-degree relative with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 chance of being affected by the condition, it’s important to look at family history at the start. Following this, our physicians will learn about symptoms and perform a physical exam. Our experts might assess the following when carrying out this screening:

  • Loss of weight
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Skin rashes
  • Certain sounds emanating from the abdominal area

Our GI physicians might additionally carry out celiac disease tests, such as DNA testing, blood work, biopsies of the small bowel or a skin rash, and others. Results of these tests may allow for a greater understanding of signs or symptoms and any possible autoimmune disorders that accompany celiac disease.

What are the treatment options for celiac disease?

Although celiac disease can have serious implications without treatment, you can take comfort in knowing it can be rather simple to manage. Our physicians will commonly suggest a celiac disease treatment of a gluten-free diet, which includes avoiding certain grains, particularly wheat, rye, and barley. You can find a tremendous collection of information pertaining to gluten-free diets on the internet these days, but our GI doctors suggest getting help from a nutritional expert who can aid in this transition, as gluten is commonly found in a number of items that you might not realize. A few common household products that may have gluten are:

  • Certain OTC medications
  • Play-Doh
  • Lip gloss or lipstick
  • Toothpaste

Get care for celiac disease in Tulsa, OK

Celiac disease involves a great deal more than living with an intolerance to gluten. It's a disorder that attacks the small intestine and can lead to ongoing damage when left untreated. If you or a family member experiences any of the above symptoms of celiac disease or has a sibling or parent with the disease, we urge you to schedule a visit at Adult Gastroenterology Associates to test for celiac disease. To discover more about gastrointestinal concerns or to find help for celiac disease in Tulsa, OK, please get in touch with our GI practice today.