Learn About the Symptoms and Management of Celiac Disease

Many people have difficulty tolerating gluten in their diets, but for the more than 2.5 million Americans diagnosed with celiac disease, strictly following a gluten-free regimen is a daily concern in order to prevent sometimes debilitating symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a wide range of symptoms and signs of celiac disease, and not all of them are related to digestion.

Celiac Disease Symptoms

As an autoimmune disorder, celiac disease can affect nearly any of the body’s systems and functions.

In addition to abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, acid reflux, and heartburn, celiac disease sufferers may also experience these symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Headaches

  • Joint pain

  • Anemia

  • Skin rashes

  • Dental enamel damage

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Numbness and tingling, balance problems, cognitive impairment, and other nervous system problems

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Liver disorders

  • Arthritis

Managing Celiac Disease

If you suspect you have celiac disease, wait until you’ve consulted with a doctor before reducing or eliminating gluten in your diet, since these changes can affect the results of blood tests for the disease.

Those with a diagnosis of celiac disease can better manage its effects with a combination of strategies, including:

Diet management: A strict, gluten-free diet must be maintained for life. Wheat is the most well-known source of gluten, but several other grains and types of flour contain gluten, including semolina, rye, malt, farina, durum, bulgur, barley, spelt, and graham flour. These sources are used in the manufacture of everything from canned soups and salad dressing, to mustard and ketchup, so those with celiac disease must read labels and research manufacturers. The Celiac Foundation offers an extensive list of foods that may contain gluten.

Gluten may also be present in other types of food product ingredients, such as preservatives, stabilizers, and modified food starches.

Awareness of non-food product ingredients: Foods are not the only source of gluten—it may also be found in over-the-counter and prescription medications; lipsticks; mouthwash and toothpaste; glue on stamps and envelopes; and supplements, including vitamin, mineral, nutritional, and herbal.

Mineral and vitamin supplements: Your physician may recommend that you take supplements if you have serious nutritional deficiencies and need to increase your levels of iron, folate, zinc, calcium, or vitamins B-12, D, or K. You’ll need to verify that any supplement you plan to take is free of gluten.

Medications: The inflammation that can result from celiac disease can damage the small intestine. While there is no medication for the treatment of celiac disease, the use of steroids can ease inflammation, allowing the small intestine to heal.

Shop Native Sun for Your Gluten-Free Diet Needs

We want every customer to find safe, healthy food choices in our Jacksonville-area stores, including those with special dietary needs. If you’re looking for a great selection of gluten-free products, we’re here to help:

  • We have a convenient tagging system in our stores that makes it easy to find “no gluten added” products on our shelves.

  • The Native Sun Gluten-Free Bakery is run by a trained staff in a dedicated area that’s completely gluten-free.

  • We regularly test bakery items to assure product safety.

  • Our food education coordinator offers free store tours for customers with special dietary needs.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. Consult with a qualified healthcare provider for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease.