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Celiac Sprue (cont.)

Celiac Disease Treatment

The treatment for celiac disease is strict avoidance of gluten in the diet.

  • Removal of gluten from the diet is essential. Because a gluten-free diet is a lifetime commitment, is more expensive than a normal diet, and has social implications, it should not be recommended unless the diagnosis is firmly established. Complete avoidance of gluten-containing grain products takes significant effort. Maintaining a strict, gluten-free diet may be relatively difficult because certain products, such as wheat flour, are so common in the Western diet.
  • Improvement in symptoms begins within days of starting the gluten-free diet. Complete healing of the small intestine, meaning the villi are intact and working, usually occurs in 3-6 months, although it may take up to 2 years in older persons.

Because lactose intolerance is common in people with celiac disease, incremental improvements occur when a lactose-free diet is introduced.

Self-Care at Home for Celiac Disease

Patient Comments

For the most part, successful control of celiac disease consists of what happens at home to modify diet and to select foods that can be eaten. Many resources are available to assist a person with choosing appropriate foods and modifying recipes to work within his or her diet.

Food labels should be read carefully. Wheat and rye flours, barley, and oats are common ingredients in many products. Many products a person would not suspect contain flour, such as salad dressings. In addition, barley is used in the brewing process of beer. The following substitutions may be tried:

  • Rice flour and bread made with rice flour may be found at local specialty grocery stores.
  • Cornstarch may be substituted for thickening sauces or gravies.
  • Sorghum may also be substituted.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017
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Celiac Disease - Self-Care at Home

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Celiac Sprue »

Celiac sprue, also known as celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a chronic disease of the digestive tract that interferes with the digestion and absorption of food nutrients.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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