celiac disease is left untreated, complications may
develop. Some of these problems can occur because of the small intestine's
inability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Other problems may
develop from damage to the intestinal lining that may or may not cause
In children, celiac disease may produce
noticeable and more severe symptoms than in some adults. Even though symptoms
are often milder in teens and adults, they may also have complications,
although some teen and adult complications are different from those that affect
It is possible that the main title of the report Celiac Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
Children who have
untreated celiac disease may develop complications such as:
Weight loss and failure to grow, also known as
failure to thrive. A child may be short for his or her
age and have small, undeveloped muscles of the buttocks, arms, and legs. A
child's belly may appear swollen. Even if a child eats well, his or her weight
is usually below normal.
Intussusception. Celiac disease may damage the
intestines, causing this condition to occur.
Rectal prolapse. This condition of the large intestine may develop with severe
Complications in teens
Teens who have untreated
celiac disease can have many of the same problems as those in younger children.
In addition, they may have:
Delays in growth. Teens may be short and
underweight for their age.
puberty. Menstrual periods may start later than normal
in girls. Facial hair growth and voice changes may occur late in boys.
It is sometimes hard for teens to consistently follow
a gluten-free diet. Make sure your teen knows that the more he or she doesn't
follow the diet, the more likely the above complications are to develop.
Complications in adults
Adults who have
celiac disease may develop complications such as:
Refractory disease. You may have refractory sprue if you continue to have symptoms
even after starting a gluten-free diet, or if you get better after starting a gluten-free diet, and stay better for a while but your symptoms come back even though you are still eating a gluten-free diet.