Let’s look at some of the symptoms, and which ones do true damage.
The classic celiac disease symptoms include:
- abdominal bloating and pain
- chronic diarrhea
- pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- weight loss
These symptoms are generally temporary, caused by reversible damage to the villi in the gut. It can take weeks or months for the villi to heal, but the damage is not considered permanent. However, the above list is by no means a complete list of celiac disease symptoms. Here is a longer list, more likely to occur in adults than children:
- unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
- bone or joint pain
- bone loss or osteoporosis
- depression or anxiety
- tingling numbness in the hands and feet
- missed menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Again, most of these reverse after maintaining a gluten free diet for several weeks or months and allowing the body to heal. However arthritis and bone loss may not be fully reversible. However, according the the Mayo clinic:
In rare instances, the intestinal injury of celiac disease continues even though you follow a strict gluten-free diet. This is known as refractory celiac disease.
Celiac disease can cause other diseases, in other words the following diseases could be diagnosed rather than celiac disease, but gluten could ultimately be the cause:
- type 1 diabetes
- autoimmune thyroid disease
- autoimmune liver disease
- Addison’s disease, a condition in which the glands that produce critical hormones are damaged
- Sjögren’s syndrome, a condition in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed
- colon cancer
- possibly other brain abnormalities
The above list is of diseases may not reverse with the withdrawal of gluten from the diet, but certainly anyone with celiac disease, no matter how advanced thier symtoms, must immediately remove all gluten from their diet or face further deteriorating health.
Please not that the above lists are not not necessarily complete.
What is your experience with celiac disease damage?