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Celiac disease symptoms & treatments

A genetic disorder, Celiac disease damages the digestive system, in particular the small intestine, and interferes with the absorption of essential nutrients from food.

People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. If they eat gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small fingerlike protrusions that line the small intestine. These tiny protrusions, called villi, are essential if nutrients from food are to be transferred into the bloodstream.

Although Celiac disease is genetic, it sometimes takes an incident such as surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, a viral infection, or severe emotional stress, to trigger it.

Once it has been diagnosed, it is essential to follow a gluten free diet. In the majority of cases this will be sufficient to relieve the symptoms and heal existing intestinal damage.

Sufferers who switch to a gluten free diet will notice improvements within days, and can expect the small intestine to completely heal in 3 to 6 months (for children and younger adults) and within 2 years for older adults.

There are a multitude of possible symptoms of this problem, some of the most common including diarrhea, abdominal pain, irritability or depression. If you have concerns about his, or if there is a family history, you should immediately consult your doctor.