What You Should Understand About Celiac Disease


Do you notice gastrointestinal (GI) problems when consuming items containing gluten? Gastrointestinal issues that develop after eating gluten, like bloating, diarrhea, oily stools, and abdominal pain, can result from celiac disease. An autoimmune disorder, celiac disease triggers an abnormal immune response to the protein found in grains known as gluten. This immune reaction occurs when gluten is ingested, leading to uncomfortable GI effects. Although there is currently no cure for celiac disease, the team at Utah Gastroenterology can diagnose the condition and treat its symptoms. Read on to learn more about celiac disease or request a consultation at one of our locations in the Salt Lake City or St. George, UT areas.

How does celiac disease affect your body?

Those who have celiac disease are encouraged to receive a diagnosis and medical care from a skilled digestive health provider. Celiac disease can damage the body when it goes 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 absorbed in the small bowel, it causes an immune response. The body then sends out a host of antibodies to protect against it. Such antibodies could damage the tissue in the small bowel, which can impact your body’s ability to absorb nutritional value from food products.

Other possible long-term impacts of celiac disease involve:

  • Occurrence of new food intolerances
  • Liver disease
  • Elevated risk of intestinal cancer
  • Compromised immune system
  • Ulcers or scarring in the gastrointestinal tract

How is celiac disease treated?

The best approach to treating celiac disease is to avoid consuming foods containing gluten. Once you have been tested and diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be able to prevent future symptoms when you remove gluten from your diet. Over time, the lining in your intestine will begin to heal and once again receive nutrients. Because there is no known cure for this disease, you may need to maintain a gluten-free diet for life to prevent damage to your small intestine. Other celiac disease treatments that may be recommended include:

  • Nutritional supplements
  • Corticosteroids
  • Medication
  • Routine follow-up care

If you are seeking celiac disease treatment in Salt Lake City or St. George, UT, the gastrointestinal doctors at Utah Gastroenterology may be able to help. Even though the most effective treatment method is a gluten-free diet, it is important to be diagnosed with celiac disease before you stop eating gluten completely to determine if it has an impact on your body.

Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: What is the difference?

Without proper knowledge, gluten intolerance and celiac disease can seem like the same condition. They both cause unpleasant GI symptoms after consuming gluten. However, the similarities tend to end there. As mentioned, celiac disease can cause an irregular reaction in the body that may negatively affect the GI tract over time. Gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, but it should not lead to long-term damage to the digestive tract. Gluten intolerance can often be addressed with digestive enzyme supplements that reduce symptoms. Symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease are almost identical; therefore, if you are experiencing such symptoms, schedule an appointment with a GI doctor to determine which condition is affecting your health.

Get support for celiac disease in Utah

At Utah Gastroenterology, our team is passionate about increasing celiac disease awareness. One in 133 individuals is diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac disease can completely change how you live your life, often favorably. Once you have removed gluten from your diet, your body can start to heal from the damage caused by consuming this protein. As your body heals, your risk of long-term effects diminishes. Get in touch with a Utah Gastroenterology location in the Salt Lake City or St. George, UT areas to request a consultation. You can trust our board-certified gastroenterologists to help preserve and protect your digestive wellness.

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