Coeliac disease is a condition where people react to gluten which damages the digestive system. This damage can interfere with the absorption of some nutrients causing a range of health related issues. If you have been diagnosed with Coeliac disease it is essential that you follow a strict gluten-free diet and avoid foods like wheat, barley and rye for the rest of your life.
Symptoms Of Coeliac Disease
If symptoms occur they can range from mild to severe and may include:
- diarrhoea, excessive wind, and/or constipation
- persistent nausea and vomiting
- recurrent stomach pain and cramping or bloating
- iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
- tiredness and/or headaches
- weight loss
- hair loss (alopecia)
- skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
- tooth enamel problems and/or mouth ulcers
Often symptoms may be mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or wheat intolerance so if you have been suffering with 3 or more of the symptoms above book a consultation with your dietitian who will assess further.
Treatment of Coeliac Disease
Your first appointment will involve an extended consultation which will focus on your understanding of the condition, gluten free foods and living, eating out/holidays, cross contamination, financial support, a balanced diet, supplementation and management of secondary conditions. The dietitian will invite you for a review consultation to check how you are adapting to your new gluten-free diet and to assess whether there are any nutritional concerns, such as anaemia, osteoporosis, lactose intolerance, etc.
If you have been diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance secondary to your condition the dietitian can support you with this by recommending suitable alternatives and ensuring your diet remains balanced.
Ideally you should see a dietitian within 1-2 weeks of diagnosis. Dietitians are the most qualified healthcare professional to provide advice and education on coeliac disease. Spectrum Nutrition dietitians can help with the management of your condition and will provide advice outlining a specific food list and meal plan to allow you to achieve a balanced gluten free diet, while reducing your risk of long term complications. They will help you to adhere to a gluten free diet and give you the support you need when adjusting your lifestyle to suit the needs of your condition. It is very important to visit your GP or dietitian if you suspect that you may be Coeliac because if left untreated you can damage the intestine. There are many alternative centres which ‘claim’ to diagnose coeliac disease but they are in fact not approved methods of diagnosis.