Celiac disease can have many different symptoms. Yours may be different from someone else’s. You may not even have any symptoms.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults
If you have this condition and eat a food that has gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley), your immune system attacks your small intestine. That causes damage and makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients.
In adults, other common symptoms of this immune problem include:
Nausea and vomiting
Nondigestive Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults
When you have celiac disease, your small intestine can’t properly digest nutrients from food. Over time, this can cause more health problems.
You may feel tired, listless, and achy, or have seizures or vision problems.
Other symptoms include:
Itchy, blistery skin
Osteoporosis and osteomalacia
Mouth ulcers and canker sores
Liver disorders like fatty liver
Headaches or migraines
Hyposplenism (when your spleen doesn’t work as well as it should)
Numbness and tingling in feet and hands (peripheral neuropathy)
Celiac Disease Rash
Also called dermatitis herpetiformis, celiac disease rash is a common sign that your body can’t tolerate gluten. Itchy skin and blisters may pop up on your:
Your doctor may prescribe a gluten-free diet, medication, or both.
Your eyes rely on calcium and vitamins A and D to function well. Celiac makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients. This can lead to:
Retinopathy, or retinal lesions
Pseudotumor cerebri, or pressure in your head
Other autoimmune conditions that cause vision loss
Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Children and Teens
Pale, foul-smelling stools
Tooth enamel damage
Chronic diarrhea, which can be bloody
Not growing as expected
Neurological symptoms including learning disabilities, ADHD, headaches, lack of muscle coordination, and seizures
Your child may also show signs of malnourishment. Their stomach may bloat, while their thighs become thin and their buttocks flat.
Teens with celiac disease may not show symptoms until they’re in a stressful time, such as when they leave home or have an injury, illness, or pregnancy. They tend to show many of the same symptoms as younger children, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue.
Teens can also have other symptoms, such as:
Types of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is divided into three types, each with their own symptoms.
Classical celiac: People with this type have signs of not being able to absorb food nutrients like they should.
Steatorrhea, or pale, foul-smelling stools
Failure to grow in children
Nonclassical:People with this form may not show signs of problems absorbing nutrients, but they do have other symptoms. And they often have other conditions and autoimmune diseases.
Bloating and pain
Tingling and numbness in hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy)
Difficulty losing weight
Itchy skin (dermatitis herpetiformis)
If you havesilent celiac disease, you don’t have symptoms — but your small intestine is still damaged.
When to Call Your Doctor
See your doctor if you think you or your child could have celiac disease. For people who have it, a gluten-free diet can help prevent issues like malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and neurological problems.
Celiac disease tends to run in families, so if you have a close relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) who has it, you may want to get checked.