Know your symptoms: Coeliac disease

You might have heard the term arise in conversation or even seen it on a café menu, but what is Coeliac disease and how does it differ to a food intolerance? Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, which causes the body to react abnormally from eating gluten (a protein found in rye, barley and wheat). It leads to damage in the bowel.

Coeliac disease isn’t a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, rather your body’s inability to absorb nutrients, which can lead to many gastrointestinal and malabsorptive symptoms.

Experts at House Call Doctor say while coeliac disease can affect anyone at any age, a person must be born with the genetic predisposition to develop it.

The symptoms of coeliac disease include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Bone and joint pains
  • Weight loss
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue, lethargy and weakness
  • Reoccurring mouth ulcers
  • Swelling of the tongue or mouth
  • Abdominal pain.

In Australia, Coeliac disease affects 1 in 70 people. However, around 80 per cent of those people are undiagnosed or unaware they suffer from the disease.

Receiving a diagnosis can be bittersweet. While it’s great to know why your stomach is feeling upset, there is no cure, meaning your lifestyle and your diet needs to change.

The best way to treat Coeliac disease is to cut out all gluten in your diet. So, let’s have a look at some of the foods you should avoid if you’re a sufferer.

The foods to avoid for a Coeliac diet:

The common gluten ingredients to avoid if you’re Coeliac include all kinds of wheat, barley, rye, wheat start, malt, brewer’s yeast and triticale.

Unless labelled gluten-free, House Call Doctor experts warn you should stay away from the following foods and hidden sources of gluten:

  • Bread
  • Beer
  • Cereal
  • Desserts including tarts, biscuits and cake
  • Crackers and seasoned chips
  • Pasta
  • Some lipsticks and lip balms
  • Processed meat like sausages and canned meat
  • Sauces
  • Salad dressing
  • Soups
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash

Thankfully nowadays, there is often the choice of a gluten free version of the above foods. If not, here are a few foods that are perfectly fine to eat if you’re a Coeliac:

  • Dairy products (even though you should still read the label)
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Beans and lentils
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Rice and potato flour
  • Rice
  • Soy

If you’re suffering from stomach pains after you eat, it’s best to see your doctor.