If you have celiac disease, eating gluten causes your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. (Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.)
The resulting damage can make it hard for your body to get enough nutrients from food.
Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea and weight loss, among others. Some people first develop symptoms after an injury, pregnancy or other stressful experience. Others have no symptoms at all.
Celiac disease: what you should know
- For most people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet will stop symptoms and heal damaged intestines.
- A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. Luckily, gluten-free doesn’t mean taste-free. A registered dietitian at Rush can help you plan delicious and healthy gluten-free meals.
- Your celiac risk is higher if you have a close family member with the disease. Other conditions associated with celiac disease include autoimmune diseases, such as Type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.
- If you have celiac disease, you need treatment. People with celiac disease who don’t stop eating gluten have a higher risk of many health problems, including cancer and neurological disorders.
How can I get help for celiac disease?
These are the most common symptoms of celiac disease:
- Abdominal pain
- Blistering, itchy rash
- Joint pain
- Unexplained weight loss
Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have celiac disease. Many other conditions have similar symptoms.
In fact, people with celiac disease are often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. But experts at Rush can draw on their decades of experience to find the root of your problem.
Rush welcomes patients seeking second opinions.
Care for celiac disease at Rush
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, the only treatment is not eating gluten. Doctors at Rush can help you transition to a gluten-free diet, as well as manage the challenges related to celiac disease.
Your care could involve any of these specialists:
- Gastroenterologists and allergists who can help you with celiac symptoms and related food sensitivities
- Dietitians who can help you plan gluten-free meals
- Psychologists who can help you cope with the challenges of having celiac disease
Why choose Rush for celiac care
- Rush has two programs dedicated to helping people with celiac disease: the Rush Adult Celiac Disease Program and the Rush Celiac Disease and Food Sensitivity Clinic.
- Rush has registered dietitians who specialize in helping people with celiac disease. They have a lot of experience with planning healthy — and tasty — gluten-free diets.
- At Rush, you can see a psychologist who specializes in helping people cope with the challenges of having a gastrointestinal disease.