Indy Gastro | Colonoscopy, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, endoscopy

Celiac Disease (Celiac Sprue)


A rather rare condition in which the small intestinal cells are sensitive to a substance called gluten, which is contained in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and their by products.


Consumption of gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and consequently prevents adequate absorption and digestion of the nutrients. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea with weight loss.


The cause of Celiac disease is unknown but there is a tendency to run in families. Blood tests and tissue samples taken with endoscopy procedures are used to diagnose Celiac Disease.  A trial diet change to gluten free can also be helpful in the diagnosis process.


  • Gluten-Free Diet: Avoiding Gluten by maintaining a gluten free diet is essential.  Dietary consultation can help with learning these restrictions.  Gluten is contained in many foods under different names. Gluten is contained in wheat rye barley, oats and other related grains.
  • Medical Treatment: In addition to gluten free diet medications to decrease intestinal inflammation may be needed.   These treatments remain in the developmental stages and are not readily available for routine treatment.

Other associated diseases:

Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering skin disease that also stems from gluten intolerance. Rash typically occurs on elbows, knees and buttocks. Treatment is use of a gluten-free diet, in addition to medicine to control the rash and itching.


Malabsorption of nutrients can eventually affect the rest of your body. Malabsorption can rob needed nutrients from bone, nerves and other vital organs.


Celiac Sprue or Celiac disease is diagnosed when cells in the small intestine are sensitive to gluten and become inflamed when gluten is present in the diet. This inflammation can lead to damage of the small intestine and a lack of needed nutrients to the body for normal function.  

Support links (additional information)

Celiac Sprue Association

Celiac Disease Foundation

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America

National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics American Dietetic Association.


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