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Eating Shouldn’t Hurt: Understanding Celiac Disease

Celiac disease pain

May is Celiac Awareness Month, a time to learn more about the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a condition that affects the small intestine and is triggered by consuming gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of their small intestine, which can lead to a range of health issues. If you think you might have celiac disease, here’s what you need to know:


  • Stomach pain and discomfort
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating and gas
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nutrient deficiencies


  • Talk to your gastroenterologist about your symptoms
  • Your doctor may order blood tests to check for certain antibodies
  • You may need to have a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis

Possible treatment:

  • Follow a strict gluten-free diet
  • Avoid all foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye
  • Avoid any products that may have come into contact with gluten during processing
  • Talk to a healthcare professional about nutritional supplements if you have any nutrient deficiencies

Tips for a gluten-free diet:

  • Focus on eating naturally gluten-free foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish
  • Look for gluten-free versions of your favorite foods
  • Read food labels carefully and look for gluten-free certification logos
  • Avoid eating out or ask for gluten-free options when eating out

Managing celiac disease can be challenging, but with the right information and support, it is possible to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Remember to talk to your gastroenterologist about any concerns or questions you may have, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a support group for help and guidance.

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