What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease is a condition where gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. The small intestine is the site where nutrients are absorbed, so continual consumption of gluten will severely damage the intestinal lining and can lead to malnutrition, osteoporosis, depression, anaemia, and infertility. The only treatment is to avoid gluten-containing foods as even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Coeliac Disease?
There are many symptoms, however these can overlap with other medical conditions and do not solely relate to coeliac disease. Some of the common symptoms include:
~ Diarrhoea or Constipation
~ Fatigue and Weakness
~ Stomach Cramps
~ Nausea and Vomiting
~ Weight Loss
When should you get a referral to a dietitian?
~ If you have been newly diagnosed with anaemia
~ If you have poor understanding of nutritional management
~ If you suffer with abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation
~ If you have unintentional changes to your weight
~ If your biochemistry is abnormal (low iron, low bone mineral density)
~ If you have poor growth (in children) or delayed puberty
What are the benefits of involving a dietitian?
~ Improved nutritional status
~ Improved biochemistry
~ Improvement in symptoms
~ Increased understanding of gluten free diets
~ Normal or improved bowel habits
~ Improved body weight or growth