Celiac disease, also referred to as sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that is precipitated by the ingestion of gluten, a protein commonly found in barley, rye, and wheat. The inflammatory response launched by the small intestine causes damage to its lining and malabsorption of many key nutrients.
If you have celiac disease, you will likely experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea and vomiting typically within two hours after consuming something that contains gluten. In such case, you need to see a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist for prompt intervention, which is crucial for reducing your risk of developing potentially serious complications, such as osteoporosis, intestinal cancer, neurological problems, and, if you’re pregnant, miscarriage.
The information provided below aims to help you understand how a GI specialist diagnoses and treats celiac disease.
To confirm a diagnosis, your GI specialist will likely order genetic or serology testing, possibly along with an upper GI endoscopy, which allows them to detect any inflammation or signs of damage in your small intestines.
Once your GI specialist confirms celiac disease, they will likely recommend a combination of the following treatment approaches to help you avoid the distressing symptoms of the condition, heal the existing intestinal damage, and reduce your risk of sustaining further damage and developing other complications.
Your GI specialist will make dietary recommendations and/or refer you to a nutritionist, who can help you identify and avoid foods and drinks that have gluten in them when you go grocery shopping, eat out, or cook at home.
Aside from wheat, barley, and rye, foods that you need to eliminate from your diet include farina, graham flour, malt, semolina, spelt, triticale, and durum.
If you have severe intestinal damage or refractory celiac disease, in which your symptoms are resistant or unresponsive to a 12-month course of a strict, gluten-free diet, your GI specialist may recommend steroid medications to help control the inflammation, enhance intestinal mucosal recovery, and consequently, promote healing.
If you’re experiencing severe anemia and other nutritional types of nutritional deficiencies, your GI specialist will likely recommend supplements, such as the following:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
Dietary supplements are usually taken orally, in pill form. However, if you have malabsorption problems, your doctor will likely administer the supplements by injections instead.
Celiac Disease Treatment in California
For reliable celiac disease treatment in California, visit us at inSite Digestive Health Care. Our team consists of highly credentialed GI doctors who constantly strive to deliver unmatched treatment outcomes for all types of digestive problems, including celiac disease.
We also offer nutritional coaching, through which our licensed nutritionists provide you with personalized care and useful information that could empower you to make healthy food choices, given your particular medical condition. Your dietary plan could include recipes and related handouts, supplement recommendations, and food group education— all aimed at helping you live well with celiac disease.