Celiac disease (gluten enteropathy): symptoms and treatment
Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine, in which there is a violation of its work. The disease is characterized by gluten protein intolerance, because of which the pathology and got its second name — gluten enteropathy. Symptoms are most pronounced in childhood, but the older a person, the less the signs of an illness will be expressed.
Such a pathology is very rare, but nevertheless, doctors note that the disease manifests itself much more often in women than in men. Women with such a disease is difficult to conceive a child and undergo a full term of pregnancy without complications. In addition, it is worth noting that the probability of detecting an infirmity in children is very high, which occurs in a latent form.
Disease is expressed only when a person consumes foods that contain large amounts of gluten. Therefore, for patients with celiac disease, such grains as barley, oats, rye and wheat are dangerous to health and life. After excluding products, which include such crops, the full functioning of the intestine resumes for six months.
Nowadays, thanks to the latest diagnostic techniques, it became possible to learn much more about the disease, to find out that some of its forms were mistaken earlier for completely different GI diseases.
Celiac disease is characterized by such unpleasant symptoms as liquid feces, increased emission of gases, a strong decrease in body weight. With the final formulation of this diagnosis, the patient until the end of life will be forced to adhere to a strict diet.
The causes of gluten enteropathy are divided into two types — genetically determined and acquired. If the congenital type of the disease is clear — it is formed in the womb, the secondary causes of this process are some specific factors:
- the presence of celiac disease in the immediate family often causes the progression of the child’s ailment
- Down syndrome, in which the development and structure of many internal organs is disrupted, heart defects and mental retardation are observed
- damage to the thyroid gland or one of its halves
- large accumulation of lymphocytes in the large intestine
- hepatitis, especially chronic, whose activity exceeds six months;
- various infectious processes in the intestine
- the consequences of surgical interventions, for example, the removal of appendicitis
- excessive consumption of flour products and cereals containing large amounts of protein
- prolonged severe stress.
Celiac disease can be of several forms:
- typical — the signs of the disease manifest only on the part of the gastrointestinal tract
- atypical — the symptoms are not expressed so clearly and are related to other internal organs
- hidden — disease rates are very difficult to determine;
- there is no latent symptom, it is possible to determine such a disease only if laboratory tests are conducted;
- refractory — can combine the characteristics of the first two forms.
In fact, it is difficult to diagnose celiac disease to doctors, since its primary signs are similar to those of other digestive disorders. Precisely to diagnose it is possible only after carrying out of additional methods of inspection.
Symptoms of celiac disease can be expressed individually or in groups, because the symptoms are of a different nature, depending on the forms of the disease mentioned above. Celiac disease in adults makes itself felt by the following gastrointestinal problems (which are typical of a typical form):
- Severe diarrhea — feces of a gray hue, can foams;
- increase in stool volumes
- the detection of mucus and fat particles in the stool
- uncharacteristic for a healthy person by increasing the size of the abdomen (swelling)
- a decrease or a complete lack of appetite;
- acute abdominal pain after eating;
- vomiting after eating dairy products
Atypical symptoms of celiac disease are disorders of other internal organs or systems:
- bone density decreases, fracture probability is high;
- pain in the muscles and bones
- small growth of the patient
- tooth enamel damage;
- the skin acquires a pale hue
- a feeling of intense thirst, and constantly;
- Lowering body weight, sometimes to critical levels.
During an exacerbation of the disease, there are violations in the psyche or behavior:
- talking to yourself
- sleep disturbance or complete absence;
- a sharp change of behavior — from calm to aggressive
- unreasonable anxiety and anxiety
In addition, signs of the disease, in individual cases, can be:
- lack of oxygen;
- migraine and frequent dizziness;
- increased sweat allocation
- fast fatigue;
- muscle weakness;
- skin allergic rashes appear
Celiac disease in children is expressed a little differently. The following symptoms are typical of babies who are under the age of two:
- frequent urge to go to the toilet «by and large» — feces come out a lot, and it has a sharp and unpleasant smell
- There is no gain in weight, moreover, the child is very much thin;
- stopping in growth, tooth formation slows down
- development delay;
- frequent vomiting;
- severe bloating.
For children older than two years and adolescents, the symptoms of gluten enteropathy will be as follows:
- diarrhea alternates with prolonged constipation
- an allergic rhinitis or rash
- weight loss
- severe fatigue, why the patient does not withstand heavy physical exertion
- inattention, which contributes to the backlog in training
- pale skin.
If you do not start timely treatment or do not adhere to a special diet, serious complications will arise. For adult men and women it will be:
- Ulcerative malignancy in the small intestine
- the rapid progression of celiac disease, in which the symptoms do not deviate from the diet
- Male and female infertility
- Vitamin deficiency in the body
- frequent fractures due to thinning of bone tissue
- the appearance of cancer tumors in the bladder, stomach, small and large intestine
For children the consequences of the disease will be practically the same, only to them will be added a backlog in mental and mental development. Do not be ruled out, and the lethal outcome. The risk group includes children under two years old.
Celiac disease threatens women:
- the birth of a dead fetus
- premature birth
- further infertility.
If a woman, after learning about the illness, still decided on pregnancy, then doctors recommend that you spend all nine months in a hospital and sanatorium, under full supervision of specialists, and limit yourself to one pregnancy and no longer plan children.
Diagnosis of this disease for children, adults and pregnant women consists of the same set of actions. The recognition of celiac disease is carried out in several stages:
- collecting information about the illness and examining the patient by a doctor
- laboratory tests
- hardware inspection.
At the first stage, the doctor should find out all about the timing of the onset of the first symptoms, their intensity and how much they worry the patient, whether any of the next of kin’s relatives suffered from similar intolerance to gluten. Further, the doctor conducts an examination and palpation of the abdomen to determine whether pain is present or not (in pregnant women, palpation is performed in the early stages). Measures the volume of the stomach, in order to further monitor its decrease. If the patient is a child, the doctor must record its height and weight. In addition, allergist consultations are required.
The second stage of diagnosis consists of conducting clinical tests of feces and blood. This is done to determine their chemical composition. To determine the complete picture of the course of gluten enteropathy, additional diagnostic methods are performed:
- FGDS is a procedure in which a physician can fully assess the condition of the digestive tract;
- biopsy of the intestinal mucosa;
- Radiography of the intestine with contrast;
After conducting a complete diagnosis of celiac disease, the doctor prescribes treatment methods that are aimed at restoring the proper functioning of the intestine. The most effective way of treatment is a diet for celiac disease, which must necessarily adhere to the patient throughout the rest of life, in order to avoid the formation of complications or death.
Diet for celiac disease involves rejection of:
- cereals — millet, oats, rye and barley
- flour products — any pastries from the above cereals, as well as pasta and mango;
- smoked sausages
- hot spices and sauces;
- Chocolate and coffee drinks
- ketchup and mayonnaise
- over-salted or fatty foods
The diet provides for consumption in any quantities:
- corn products based on corn, rice and soybean
- Potatoes in any form;
- fruits and vegetables
- meat and fish
- any products that do not contain gluten.
The patient’s condition improves after a month of dieting, and two years later the work of the intestine is fully restored. In individual cases, the doctor prescribes medications that eliminate the allergic reaction and minimize the manifestation of other symptoms.
The means of prevention for celiac disease do not exist, except for a diet that excludes gluten. But, besides this, you need:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially for women during pregnancy
- timely diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive tract;
- undergo a full medical examination several times a year;
- Before planning a pregnancy, doctors should be consulted, and if such a decision is made, the entire period should be spent under the constant supervision of doctors.