Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease services offered in Midlothian, N. Chesterfield, Short Pump, Henrico, Richmond and Mechanicsville, VA

Celiac disease results from an allergy to gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat and rye. At their eight offices in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, and Mechanicsville, Virginia, the Richmond Gastroenterology Associates team provides an accurate diagnosis of celiac disease symptoms. Their highly-skilled gastroenterologists also help you manage your condition with a gluten-free diet. For expert care of celiac disease, call Richmond Gastroenterology Associates today or book an appointment online.

Celiac Disease Q & A

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder resulting from an allergy to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. The condition causes inflammation and damage to the lining of your small intestine, which results in long-term digestive problems.

If you eat food containing gluten when you have celiac disease, your immune system overreacts, damaging the villi (tiny, hairlike projections lining your small intestine). Villi absorb vitamins and other vital nutrients from your diet. If they suffer damage, the villi can’t absorb the nutrients you need.

Around 1% of Americans have celiac disease, many of whom haven’t had a diagnosis.

What symptoms does celiac disease cause?

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and gas 
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Delayed growth
  • Thin bones
  • Anemia
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Irritability
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Discolored teeth
  • Pale mouth sores 
  • Joint pain
  • Infertility

The reasons why some people develop celiac disease are unclear. Your genes might increase your risk of developing a gluten allergy, and the health of your gut microbiome (healthy bacteria) probably plays a role.

Your risk of celiac disease increases after pregnancy or childbirth, if you’re under severe emotional stress, or if you have a viral infection that causes an immune system overreaction. A family history of celiac disease also raises your risk.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

The Richmond Gastroenterology Associates team can diagnose celiac disease by looking for specific antibodies in your blood. Your immune system produces these antibodies when you eat gluten.

Capsule endoscopy can also be useful to identify any small intestine abnormalities and assess the damage to your villi.

How is celiac disease treated?

There’s no cure for celiac disease, but you can manage it successfully by following a gluten-free diet.

The Richmond Gastroenterology Associates team provides resources that explain how to understand food and medication labels so you can check for gluten. Your provider might refer you to a dietician who can help you with good nutrition and meal planning.

You should visit Richmond Gastroenterology Associates regularly so your provider can assess your gut health. They can tell how effective your diet is and see how well healing is progressing in your small intestine.

Sometimes there’s inflammation in the intestinal tissue that isn’t getting better despite you going gluten-free. In this case, you might have to take medications like steroids to control the inflammation.

If you develop celiac disease symptoms, call Richmond Gastroenterology Associates today or book an appointment online.