Think consistent diarrhea is the one sure-fire symptom of celiac disease?
Well, think again. A new study performed on 770 Italian patients over a period of 15 years showed that other gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, bloating, gastro-esophageal reflux, nausea, vomiting and dyspepsia were increasingly indicators of the disease.
That, and no stomach-related symptoms at all.
“A high proportion of celiac disease patients did not show any gastrointestinal symptoms, but they displayed extra-intestinal manifestations such as iron-deficiency anemia, unexplained osteoporosis, abnormalities of liver-function tests and recurrent miscarriages,” said study co-author Dr. Umberto Volta, a professor of medicine at the University of Bologna.
In the 1990s, celiac disease was mainly considered a food intolerance in children with the most common signs being diarrhea and intestinal damage. Today, the disease is known as a disorder of the autoimmune system caused by an inability to tolerate the gluten protein in wheat, barley and rye.
In the study at St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, classical symptoms like diarrhea fell from afflicting 47 percent of patients during the first 10 years to 13 percent in the last five. Meanwhile, other problems, as well as a lack of any significant related illness, increased by more than 86 percent.
It’s a new year. If you’re not feeling well and don’t know why or if someone in your family has been diagnosed with celiac disease, call your doctor to be tested.
Source: Reuters Health