What Should I Know About Celiac Disease?


Have you experienced gastrointestinal (GI) issues when you consume gluten-containing items? GI concerns that occur after ingesting gluten, like abdominal pain, oily stools, diarrhea, and bloating, can result from celiac disease. An autoimmune condition, celiac disease elicits an abnormal immune response to the protein in grains called gluten. This immune response occurs when gluten is eaten, resulting in uncomfortable GI symptoms. Although there is presently no cure for celiac disease, the team at Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa, OK can detect and address celiac disease symptoms.

How can celiac disease impact the body?

People who think they may have celiac disease should get a diagnosis and medical treatment from a gastrointestinal doctor. Celiac disease could cause harm to the body when the condition is left undiagnosed and untreated. This digestive condition can have a chronic impact on the small bowel (intestine), where the body absorbs most vitamins and other nutrients. When gluten is taken up in the small bowel, it stimulates an immune reaction. The body then activates a host of antibodies to destroy it. These antibodies can damage the lining of the small bowel, which could affect the GI tract's ability to absorb nutritional value from food.

Other potential long-term impacts of celiac disease include:

  • Liver disease
  • Manifestation of new food intolerances
  • Weakened immune system
  • Ulcers or scarring in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Heightened risk of cancer in the intestine

How is celiac disease treated?

The ideal approach to treating celiac disease is to remove gluten from your diet. Once you’ve been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be able to avoid future symptoms by not eating gluten. In time, the lining in your intestine should start to heal and receive nutrients again. Because there is no known cure for celiac disease, you might want to maintain a diet void of gluten for the rest of your life to reduce the chances of damage to your small intestine. Some celiac treatments that may be helpful include:

  • Routine follow-up care
  • Supplements
  • Corticosteroids
  • Medication

If you are seeking celiac disease treatment in Tulsa, OK, the gastrointestinal doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates are here to help. While the most effective treatment method for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, it is important that you are diagnosed with celiac disease before avoiding gluten completely to determine if it impacts your body.

Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: How do they compare?

To many, gluten intolerance and celiac disease might seem alike. They both cause uncomfortable GI symptoms after eating gluten. However, the similarities tend to end there. As mentioned, celiac disease causes an abnormal response in the body that can negatively impact your GI system over time. While gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, it should not harm your digestive system. It can usually be alleviated with digestive enzyme supplements that can help reduce symptoms. Celiac disease symptoms and gluten intolerance symptoms are essentially identical; therefore, if you have symptoms after eating gluten, we suggest you see a gastroenterologist to determine which condition you are experiencing.

Get assistance with celiac disease in Tulsa, OK

At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our team is committed to raising celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in every 133 individuals is diagnosed with celiac disease. This disease can change how you live, typically for the best. By removing gluten from your diet, your body can start to heal from damage. As your body heals, your risk of developing the above-mentioned long-term effects diminishes. For more information, please contact an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location in your community. You can rely on our board-certified gastroenterologists in Tulsa, OK to help preserve and protect your GI wellness.

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