frequently asked questions from people with Celiac disease on gluten-free diets in Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, New England and beyond.


Frequently asked questions

What is Celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder where the body cannot process foods that contain gluten, setting off an autoimmune reaction that attacks the intestine.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, rye and barley.

What are the symptoms of Celiac disease?

There are many symptoms of Celiac disease, and not everyone displays the same symptoms. Some people with Celiac disease may show no symptoms at all.

The most common symptoms of Celiac disease include diarrhea, intestinal cramping and bloating, body aches, migraine headaches, extreme fatigue, depression, joint pain, mouth sores, muscle cramps, skin rash, tingling in the legs and feet, infertility, failure to thrive, iron-deficient anemia, delayed puberty, osteoporosis, panic attacks and more.

How is Celiac disease diagnosed?

Celiac disease is indicated through many indicators which include a combination of symptoms, as well as a blood test to screen for the presence of specific antibodies. But a biopsy of the intestine, usually through an endoscopy given prior to beginning a gluten free diet, is necessary for a final diagnosis.

Is there a cure for Celiac disease?

At present, there are no drugs to treat celiac disease and there is no cure. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet.

Are there long-term effects from Celiac disease?

If ignored, celiac disease can be life threatening. People with Celiac disease can develop issues with bone density due to malabsorption of vitamins and minerals, which can also affect dental health. There is an increased risk of developing diabetes and some types of cancer, as well as central and peripheral nervous system disorders. Some women have an increased risk of infertility and miscarriage.

What is dermatitis herpetiformis?

Dermatitis herpetiformis, or DH, is a skin condition associated with Celiac disease. Not every person with Celiac disease will have DH, but many people with DH will have Celiac disease.