Symptoms and Signs of Celiac Disease

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Celiac Disease

Celiac disease (also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy and gluten-induced enteropathy) is a chronic autoimmune disease of the digestive tract that interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. People with celiac disease are unable to tolerate gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, barley, and to some degree, oats. In celiac disease, when an affected person ingests foods containing gluten, the lining of the intestine becomes damaged due to the body's immune reaction.

Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain or discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatty stools, fatigue, weakness, and in children, behavioral disturbances such as depression, irritability, and poor school performance may occur. Because celiac disease affects the absorption of nutrients essential for growth, children may have impaired growth and short stature. Patients with celiac disease may also have nutrient and vitamin deficiencies of vitamins D and K due to malabsorption.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.