A woman engaging in a consultation with a doctor Medical Conditions
Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is a disease of the small intestine which develops as part of an allergic reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat based food products. It is thought to affect around 1% of the Caucasian population and can present in a variety of ways including:

  • Bloating and abdominal pain (especially after gluten containing meals)
  • Iron and vitamin deficiency (which may be asymptomatic)
  • Diarrhoea or bowel disturbance
  • Weight loss
  • Poor weight gain/growth in children or teenagers
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rashes

Usually a blood test is the initial investigation for coeliac disease. If this is positive, or there is another reason for investigating then an upper GI endoscopy and biopsies from your duodenum will need to be performed to confirm the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is confirmed the first line of treatment is a gluten-free diet which will be explained by your specialist and a dietician. This is an effective strategy for the vast majority of patients. Further information can be found at https://coeliac.org.nz/

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