Beyond the Digestive Woes: How to Diagnose Yourself with Celiac Disease
Posted by Gluten Free Jio
September 29, 2023
Have you ever had that feeling when your body seems to be dropping hints, but you’re not quite sure what it’s trying to say? It’s like you’re enjoying a delicious slice of pizza with your friends, but shortly after, your stomach feels like it’s staging a protest. Or maybe that bowl of pasta leaves you feeling utterly drained. Could these be signs of something more? This is why today, we will crack the mysteries behind celiac disease symptoms that will help you make the initial diagnosis. Whether you suspect you might have it or are just curious, we’re here to demystify the condition and provide you with valuable insights. Let’s get started.
A quick overview of celiac disease
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder affecting around 1% of the population. This condition can disrupt daily life with a variety of troublesome symptoms. One of the primary issues individuals with celiac disease face is gastrointestinal distress. After consuming gluten, inflammation in the small intestine occurs, damaging the gut lining and interfering with nutrient absorption. This often leads to discomfort and frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation.
Conduct an initial diagnosis of celiac disease by identifying common symptoms
1. Diarrhea, constipation, and smelly feces
If you have celiac disease, your small intestine can throw a temper tantrum after gluten comes to visit. This can lead to a damaged gut lining, like a red carpet, to digestive discomfort. The result? Frequent bathroom trips, which might alternate between diarrhea and constipation, leave you feeling tired.
Frequent diarrhea isn’t just a nuisance; it can bring some unwelcome friends like electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and fatigue. Your body’s balance can get wobbly, leaving you feeling drained.
Celiac disease can make your feces far from friendly, often making them pale and unpleasant. Blame it on the poor nutrient absorption – your body’s way of saying it’s not getting what it needs.
Celiac disease might be a sneaky culprit if you find yourself constantly tired. It can combine factors like chronic pain, sleep disturbances, and even psychological conditions like depression and anxiety to drain your energy reserves. Plus, inflammation in the mix doesn’t help. Celiac disease can also lead to iron deficiency anemia, which makes you feel like you’re running on empty.
3. Skin reactions
Gluten intolerance isn’t just a gut thing; it can also make your skin speak up. It does this through a blistering skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis. Interestingly, not everyone with celiac disease gets the typical digestive symptoms; some only experience skin issues. Beyond that, gluten-free diets have been known to work magic on other skin conditions like psoriasis (known for scaling and skin discoloration), alopecia areata (causing non-scarring hair loss), and chronic urticaria (a condition marked by recurrent hives with pale centers).
4. Depression and anxiety
In 2020, nearly 1 in 10 Americans experienced the heavy cloud of depression, and for young adults and adolescents, this burden soared to 20%. Imagine being on a rollercoaster of emotions, where digestive issues can heighten your chances of getting a ticket to the anxiety and depression ride.
Depression and anxiety are frequent companions for those with celiac disease, and here are some theories that explain this connection:
Celiac disease might have a hand in making you more prone to feeling anxious or blue.
There’s something called cerebral hypoperfusion, where there’s too much blood flow in the carotid artery – a potentially life-threatening situation.
Malabsorption can leave your body craving essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to your mental health struggles.
While digesting certain gluten proteins, peptides called gluten exorphins can wreak havoc on your central nervous system, increasing the risk of depression.
Changes in your gut’s resident microbes, including an influx of harmful bacteria and a decrease in the friendly ones, can influence your central nervous system, making you more susceptible to depression.
5. Mysterious weight loss
A mystery weight loss might be caused by celiac disease, so if you’re looking for an explanation, celiac disease could be the answer. Interestingly, celiac disease is more prevalent in children under age 3, especially those with celiac disease. In addition to losing appetite, diarrhea, and failing to thrive, they often experience severe gastrointestinal symptoms. While it can happen in adults, too, it’s a bit rare.
6. Iron deficiency anemia
Iron insufficiency isn’t a rare guest; it’s the world’s most typical nutrient deficiency and the culprit behind 50% of all anemia cases. It has symptoms like lower blood volume, exhaustion, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, dull skin, and weakness. Here’s where celiac disease plays its part – it impairs the absorption of nutrients, including iron. In fact, anemia might be one of the early warning signs of celiac disease that healthcare professionals pick up on. This iron deficiency can affect both kids and grown-ups dealing with celiac disease.
7. Autoimmune disorders
Celiac disease isn’t just a digestive hitch; it’s a full-blown autoimmune condition where your immune system goes on the offensive against your digestive tract post-gluten consumption. But here’s the plot twist – it also increases your odds of hosting other autoimmune party crashers. Conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may join the scene, bringing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other life-disrupting symptoms with them. And guess what? Celiac disease is a social butterfly in the autoimmune world, often mingling with type 1 diabetes, autoimmune liver diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.
8. Joint and muscle pain
Joint and muscle discomfort can be more than just a sign of overwork; the nervous system might have a genetically determined hypersensitivity in those with celiac disease. This lower threshold can make sensory neurons go haywire, causing those nagging pains in your muscles and joints.
9. Leg or arm numbness
Have you ever experienced an odd numbness or tingling sensation in your arms or legs? This curious condition, neuropathy, is often seen in individuals with diabetes and vitamin B12 deficiency. However, it can also be a guest appearance by celiac disease. Some research even suggests that specific antibodies in individuals with celiac disease can increase the risk of this tingling sensation.
Celiac disease isn’t just about avoiding certain foods; it’s a complex story of your immune system, your gut, and the language of symptoms it speaks. From digestive distress to pale clues left in the bathroom, this condition can be a tricky puzzle.But remember, knowledge is your ally, and with the right diagnosis and management, you can regain control of your health. So, if you suspect celiac disease might be a part of your story, consult a healthcare professional who can guide you toward a healthier, gluten-free life. Stay curious, stay informed, and stay well!
Hello everyone. I am a 15-years-old teenager called Annika Dhariwal, who was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 9. As someone who attends boarding school overseas in the U.K. and has traveled over forty countries, I hope to encourage and inspire other children and adults on a gluten free diet to dream big.