Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is an allergy to gluten, which is found in many wheat based products. It is the most common inherited (genetic) disorder in European people, but can affect all races.

Coeliac disease can present at any age and even in the absence of a known family history. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe:

  • Bloating and abdominal pain after gluten containing meals
  • Iron and vitamin deficiencies
  • Diarrhoea or bowel disturbance
  • Weight loss
  • Poor weight /height gain in children or teenagers
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rashes, allergies

Although such symptoms, blood tests and dietary avoidance of gluten often suggest the diagnosis, the only way to prove coeliac disease is by gastroscopy. During this test a tiny sample of the bowel lining in the duodenum is taken for microscopic analysis. In order for this test to be accurate you need to eat a gluten diet for two weeks prior to your gastroscopy.

The treatment is a fully gluten-free diet and this results in complete resolution of symptoms and healing of the bowel in almost all cases.