What Should I Understand About Celiac Disease?
Have you experienced gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms when consuming gluten-containing products? Gastrointestinal effects that develop after ingesting gluten, like diarrhea, abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, and oily stools, can result from celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that triggers an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, the protein found in grains. This immune reaction is triggered when gluten is eaten, resulting in uncomfortable GI effects. Though there is presently no method for curing celiac disease, the gastrointestinal doctors at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants can help identify and manage celiac disease symptoms. Read on as our Texas GI team explains more about this condition.
How can celiac disease impact the body?
People who think they may have celiac disease should seek a professional diagnosis and treatment from a digestive health provider. This condition can damage the body if the condition is left undiagnosed and untreated. Celiac disease can cause a chronic impact on the small intestine, where the majority of nutrients are absorbed by the body. When gluten is absorbed in the small bowel (intestine), it triggers an immune response. The body then sends antibodies to destroy it. Such antibodies can harm the mucosa in the small bowel, which could affect the body’s ability to absorb nutritional value from food products.
Additional lasting impacts of celiac disease involve:
- Scarring or ulcers in the digestive tract
- Development of new food intolerances
- Compromised immune system
- Liver conditions
- Increased risk of cancer in the intestine
What are the treatment options for celiac disease?
Overall, the optimal way to address celiac disease is to remove gluten from your diet. Once you have been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be able to avoid uncomfortable symptoms when you stop eating gluten. Eventually, the lining in your intestine will begin to heal and start to receive nutrients. Because there is no known cure for celiac disease, you will likely have to maintain a diet free of gluten for life to avoid damaging your small intestine. Additional treatment options may include:
- Doctor-suggested nutritional supplements
- Continued follow-up care
If you are seeking celiac disease treatment in Texas, the gastrointestinal doctors at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants are here to help. Even though the primary treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, it is important to be diagnosed with celiac disease before avoiding gluten altogether to determine if it is affecting your health.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: Is there a difference?
For many, gluten intolerance and celiac disease may seem like the same condition. Both lead to unpleasant GI symptoms after consuming gluten. However, the similarities generally end there. As previously mentioned, celiac disease can cause an abnormal reaction in the body that may negatively impact your GI system in time. Gluten intolerance is uncomfortable, but it will not cause long-term damage to the digestive system. It can usually be alleviated by supplementing digestive enzymes that minimize symptoms. Symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease are similar. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should see a GI doctor to establish from which condition you are suffering.
Get care for celiac disease in Texas
At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, our team is dedicated to elevating celiac disease awareness. Every 1 in 133 people is diagnosed with celiac disease. Having the condition can alter how you live your life, usually in a favorable manner. Once you remove gluten from your diet, your body can start to heal from the damage caused by consuming this protein. When your body heals, your risk of experiencing any long-term effects decreases. Get in touch with a Texas Digestive Disease Consultants location near you for more information. You can trust our board-certified gastroenterologists with your GI health and wellness.