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Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults

Whether undiagnosed or unmanaged, individuals with celiac disease are prone to reap unpleasant side effects following gluten ingestion. Getting familiar with and identifying symptoms of celiac disease in adults can pave the way to a potential diagnosis and ultimately enhance quality of life.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults

Gluten ingestion mostly effects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and creates unpleasant symptoms. Adults are apt to experience diarrhea and constipation, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating, gas, indigestion, and vomiting. However, GI symptoms are more likely in children rather than adults. Adults have an increased likelihood of more complex symptoms and require a little more attention and treatment related to their severity.

Unrelated to the digestive system, adults may also experience:


Damage to the small intestine interrupts the absorption of micronutrients, including anemia-related iron, vitamin B-12, and folate. Oftentimes first witnessed as an iron deficiency, symptoms frequently include fatigue, hair loss, and easy bruising.


When damage to the digestive tract occurs, absorption of calcium and vitamin D may also be disrupted. Inefficient absorption of the two vitamins and minerals ultimately increases the likelihood of bone demineralization and weakness, thus raising the risk of osteoporosis.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a blistering skin rash mostly affecting the knees, elbows, and buttocks regions. Its spotting mostly occurs in teenagers and adults though it may be observed in children.

Enamel Damage

Damage to the enamel may be a consequence of unmanaged celiac disease, especially if and as malnutrition becomes more prominent. Enamel plays a major role in teeth protection and damage to it can ultimately hinder good dental health.

Mouth Ulcers

Resembling those infamous "canker sores," mouth sores related to celiac disease commonly occur at random. Whitish sores on the tongue and cheeks along with present enamel damage can help verify celiac mouth sores.

Joint Pain

If dealing with conjoined rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, eliminating or reducing gluten intake can ease joint pain. Even without an arthritic diagnosis, joint pain may still be likely to arise.

Psychiatric Disorders

Despite the lack of evidence, gluten ingestion and celiac disease has been contributed to a large number of behavioral problems (especially in children), including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, celiac disease has been associated with depression and anxiety.

Managing Symptoms

Though the exact etiology is still not 100 percent known, experts propose individuals with celiac disease have a genetic, predisposed risk factor that surfaces when aligned with another influencer. Such factors include food exposure, pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, and infections. But despite the cause, it is critical to seek out medical care if experiencing any of the above symptoms. If diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, the only known treatment to manage symptoms is following a gluten-free diet. Seeking out resources and speaking with a healthcare professional can further guide you to a wholesome diet to eliminate nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, bistroMD offers gluten-free meal options along with gluten and celiac disease information in the Health Library!

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