Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Monika Singh   by Monika Singh, MS    Last updated on October 3, 2019,

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease is also known as gluten intolerance. It affects different people differently. There are more than 200 symptoms of celiac disease yet some percentage of people does not have any symptoms at all. But the people without symptoms are also at risk of developing this disorder.

This disease is related to the digestive system; however, the symptoms may or may not appear in the digestive system. Some people also experience certain symptoms in other parts of the body. For example, a person may experience bloating while other may have anemia.


signs and symptoms of celiac disease


How does celiac disease affect people?

Celiac disease affects differently at different ages. Some people develop celiac as children, others as adults.

The symptoms of celiac disease in children and adults are different and hence the effects are also different. Symptoms of celiac disease may range from mild to severe and they may come and go with time.

Some people suffering from celiac may not have any symptom at all. It is important to know that such people also are not fully safe.

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children

Young children tend to have symptoms related to digestive system. Such children may feel tired and restless all the day. Some of the symptoms experienced by children are given below:


Diarrhea is a condition of frequent and loose bowel movement. In addition to liquid bowel, the person may also experience cramps, stomach pain, nausea and weakness.

When nutrients are not absorbed properly, the person may suffer from diarrhea.


Constipation is a condition in which stool is hard and very painful to pass. It can be due to poor diet (fewer fibers in diet) and lack of movement. The condition, if not treated properly, can lead to various other diseases.

Foul smelling or fatty stools that float

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder, which affects the digestive system. In children, foul smelling and fatty stool is observed because of inadequate absorption of fat, which increases the amount of fat in the stool.

Abdominal bloating and pain

Bloating causes abnormal swelling of the abdomen. The person may always feel full and tight stomach. He or she may also feel pain. Bloating causes uneasiness and discomfort.


Some children with celiac disease vomit when they eat gluten. It is a type of reaction their body shows when gluten is given to them.


Children suffering from celiac disease are often seen cranky. They are unable to express what they are going through and so they become fussy, frustrated and gets irritated at very small things.

Delayed growth

Due to malabsorption, the essential nutrients necessary for the proper development of the child are absent. This may lead to a slow rate of growth in children.

Delayed puberty

In some girls, the celiac disease can even delay that first period. It is all because of lack of nutrients and minerals in their body.

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Adults

Adults have symptoms that are not entirely related to digestive system. The disease may affect other parts of the body too. Following are the symptoms that are experienced by an adult:


It occurs due to deficiency of iron. The number of red blood cells decreases if you have anemia. It is most commonly found in women. This may be due to poor content of iron in the diet, blood loss or absorption issue. People usually feel tired very quickly, if they suffer from anemia.

Migraines or headaches

It is found that approximately 30 percent of people affected by celiac disease also suffer from migraine. Headache is also found in people having no other symptoms of celiac disease. If a person is experiencing frequent headaches, he should immediately go to have a checkup for the disease.


It is the inability of a man or a woman to reproduce. Women having celiac disease may be at a risk of miscarriages and other pregnancy problems.

Irregular menstrual periods

Since celiac disease causes weakness in absence of essential nutrients and minerals, women face irregular periods.

Itchy skin rash

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a type of skin disorder characterized by intensely itchy and blistered skin. It causes itchy skin rashes.

Less bone density

Thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density is often seen in people with celiac disease. It occurs mainly because of lack of calcium. It occurs when no new bone is formed and the body reabsorbs old bone.

Joint pain

Joint pain decreases a person’s range of moving a joint. Many types of injuries can cause joint pain. In some people, eating wheat and similar grains can cause it.


Anxiety is a reaction of the immune system to cope with the stressful situation. Whenever a person is under stress, he becomes anxious and eventually learns how to handle a stressful situation. But when anxiety is excessive, it becomes a disorder.

Pale mouth ulcers

These are commonly known as canker sores. The whitish sores are caused by a break in lips and mouth. They also appear on the insides of the cheek.

Discolored teeth

A person suffering with celiac disease may also experience some yellow and white spots on his incisors (front teeth used for cutting) and molars (flat teeth at the back of the mouth, used for grinding food while chewing).

In case of celiac disease, the tooth defects are permanent and do not improve even if a gluten-free diet is introduced.


Chronic tiredness is seen in people affected by celiac disease. This is because of the lack of essential minerals and nutrients.


Depression is the condition in which a person feels sad, unwanted and hopeless. He is not interested in social activities. Celiac disease may cause depression and disturb the person mentally.

Poor weight gain

It is the inability to gain weight at a normal rate. There is always an approximate weight for a particular height. People with celiac disease are underweight.


Numbness or tingling is the abnormal sensations all over the body. The body may feel like something prickling or complete numb as if the part of that body is not at all present.

Monika Singh

Monika Singh is an expert in computer sciences and has pursued her Master’s degree (M.Tech-CS) from Banasthali University, Rajasthan. Her areas of interest include data structure, software engineering, software testing, and computer graphics. Monika Singh has published a paper on “Modified AODV in MANET,” International Journal of Computer Science and Management Studies (IJCSMS), ISSN: 2231-5268, Vol-14, Issue-05 May 2014, PP:12-18.

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