Coeliac disease symptoms can vary from many to none at all. They include:
- gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea or constipation, fatty stools (steatorrhoea), nausea, vomiting, flatulence (passing wind), feeling pain or discomfort in the tummy
- iron deficiency or anaemia and other nutritional deficiencies
- weight loss or gain
- feeling tired all of the time
- irritability and depression
- failure to thrive, developmental delay or delayed puberty in children
- bone or joint pain and stiffness
- swelling of the mouth or tongue, recurring mouth ulcers and other dental problems
- itchy and blistery skin rash
- easy bruising.
Many of these symptoms are very common and can occur in other conditions such as wheat intolerance, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome. However, coeliac disease is widely recognised as being under-diagnosed so it’s important to consider it as a possible cause for a few or many of these symptoms.
There is no correlation between how severe or mild symptoms are and damage to the small bowel if you do have coeliac disease. Damage can still occur if gluten is eaten, even if there are no obvious symptoms.
It’s also important to be screened for coeliac disease if you have:
- early onset osteoporosis
- unexplained infertility
- a family history of coeliac disease
- liver disease
- an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes or an autoimmune thyroid condition.
Last reviewed: August 2015