Facts to Know About Celiac Disease
Do you suffer gastrointestinal (GI) problems after eating products containing gluten? GI concerns that occur after eating gluten, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and oily stools, could be signs of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that stimulates an irregular immune reaction to the protein found in grains known as gluten. An immune reaction is triggered when gluten is eaten, resulting in uncomfortable GI effects. Though there is no cure for celiac disease at this time, the gastrointestinal doctors at Gastroenterology Consultants in Houston, TX can help detect and manage its symptoms.
How does celiac disease impact the body?
Individuals who think they may have celiac disease should always get a diagnosis and medical treatment from an experienced GI physician. Celiac disease might damage the body when it goes undiagnosed or untreated. This digestive disease can have a long-term impact on the small intestine, where most vitamins and other nutrients are absorbed by the body. When gluten is absorbed in the small bowel, it triggers an immune response. The body then sends antibodies to protect against it. These antibodies might damage the mucosa in the small bowel, which could affect the digestive tract's ability to gain nutrients from food.
Other potential lasting effects of celiac disease involve:
- Scarring or ulcers in the digestive tract
- Manifestation of new food intolerances
- Higher risk of cancer in the intestine
- Weakened immune system
- Liver disease
What treatments are available for celiac disease?
Generally, the optimal way to address celiac disease is to avoid eating gluten. Once you’ve been tested for and diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be able to avoid future symptoms if you stop eating gluten. In time, the lining in your intestine should begin to heal and once again absorb nutrients. Because there is no known cure for this disease, you may need to avoid gluten for life to prevent further damage to the small intestine. Celiac disease treatments that may be helpful involve:
- Prescribed medication
- Doctor-suggested nutritional supplements
- Routine follow-up care
If you are looking for celiac disease treatment in Houston, TX, the gastrointestinal doctors at Gastroenterology Consultants may be able to help. While the most effective treatment method is a gluten-free diet, it is crucial to be diagnosed with celiac disease before you stop eating gluten altogether to determine if that truly is the cause.
Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance: How do they differ?
Without proper knowledge, celiac disease and gluten intolerance might seem like the same condition. Both cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms after eating gluten. However, the similarities generally end there. As previously mentioned, celiac disease is known to cause an abnormal response in the body that can negatively impact the digestive system over time. Gluten intolerance, though often uncomfortable, does not result in long-term harm to the GI tract. It is commonly treated by supplementing digestive enzymes to help reduce GI symptoms. Celiac disease symptoms and gluten intolerance symptoms are very similar. If you notice symptoms after eating gluten, you may want to be checked by a GI specialist to determine which condition you're experiencing.
Find support for celiac disease in Houston, TX
At Gastroenterology Consultants, we're committed to raising celiac disease awareness. One in 133 people is diagnosed with celiac disease. Having the condition can change how you live life, usually favorably. By removing gluten from your diet, your body can start to heal from the damage caused by consuming this protein. As your body heals, your risk of experiencing long-term effects diminishes. To request a consultation, please contact a Gastroenterology Consultants location near you. You can rely on our gastrointestinal doctors in Houston, TX to help preserve and protect your GI wellness.