Celiac disease

What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is when your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. This damages your small intestine, which affects your absorption of nutrients.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found in foods like bread, pasta, pizza, and cereal. It is also in many other foods, including some sauces and dressings.

What are the Symptoms of coeliac disease?
Symptoms of celiac disease are triggered by eating gluten-containing foods, these symptoms include:
  • Unpleasant smelling diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach ache
  • Bloating and gas
  • Indigestion
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Weight loss
  • An itchy rash
  • Infertility
  • Nerve damage that may affect co-ordination, balance and speech
What causes Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This damages the surface of the small intestine and impairs its function in absorbing nutrients.
The reason behind this remains unclear but a combination of genetics and the environment appear to play a part.

How is Celiac disease diagnosed?
Your doctor will run tests to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease
These tests should be done before you stop eating foods containing gluten:
  • Blood test –to check for antibodies that your body forms after eating gluten
  • Biopsy – If a blood test shows a lot of antibodies, the doctor will need to perform an endoscopy with a biopsy. This procedure involves putting a thin tube with a tiny camera down your throat. When the tube is in your small intestine, they will take a small tissue sample. Then the tissue will be examined under a microscope to check for any signs of damage.
If you are already on a gluten-free diet, your doctor might do other tests to see if you are likely to have celiac disease.

What is the treatment for celiac disease?
The only treatment is to avoid gluten entirely and have a gluten-free diet. Your doctor will guide you on how to change your eating habits and your food choices and how to understand labels on foods. Your doctor may also refer you to a dietician for additional help.

A gluten-free diet includes avoiding rye, wheat, barley, and sometimes oats. These ingredients appear in many common foods, including:
  • Bread, pasta, pastries, and cereal
  • Many sauces, spreads, and condiments
  • Beers, ales, lagers, and malt vinegar
What are the complications of celiac disease?
Complications of celiac disease usually arise if you continue to consume gluten. These complications include: Colonoscopy
What is a colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is a test that looks at the inner lining of your large intestine using a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera inside it.

What are the reasons your doctor might order a colonoscopy?
  • Blood in your bowel movements
  • Change in your bowel habits.
  • Long-term belly or rectal pain that you cannot explain.
  • Abnormal results from a different type of colon test
  • A history of colon cancer or polyps in your colon
To look for signs of bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, Ulcerative colitis, Bowel cancer

How to prepare for a colonoscopy?
You will be provided with instructions from your doctor about what to do before a colonoscopy. This will include what foods you can and cannot eat when to stop eating if you need to eliminate certain medications, and instructions on taking a special drink (laxatives) that cleans your colon before the procedure. This drink causes watery diarrhea. It is necessary to complete all of the glasses as instructed for your doctor to get a more detailed look at the inside lining of your bowel.
Discuss with your doctor if you’re having difficulties preparing for your colonoscopy.

What happens during a colonoscopy?
To make your procedure more comfortable, you will receive painkillers and medications to help you relax.
A thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera inside enters your bottom. Air is pumped in to open up your bowels. The tube goes through all of your large bowels. Any growths in your bowels will be removed, or a sample of cells will be taken.
This procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes.

What happens after a colonoscopy?
You will be provided with instructions from your doctor about what to do after a colonoscopy. It is recommended that you do not drive or go to work for the rest of the day. Your doctor will tell you when to start taking any medicines you had to stop before the test.
You might experience bloating or stomach cramps up to 3 hours after a colonoscopy.
You may also have some blood in your stool or bleeding from your bottom for several days.

When to seek medical attention?
Seek medical attention in case of experiencing any of the following after a colonoscopy:
  • Heavy bleeding from your bottom or bleeding that is worsening.
  • severe stomach pain or worsening pain
  • Fever or shivering


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