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Our Services / Celiac Disease

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About Celiac Disease

About 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease. Experts theorize many people with this gastrointestinal condition don’t know they have it. At Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, the leading gastroenterology specialists diagnose and treat celiac disease at their 13 locations throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, Pineville, and University, North Carolina. To find out more about celiac disease, call the office most convenient to you, or request an appointment online today. Telehealth appointments are available. 

Celiac Disease Q & A

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue, is an autoimmune reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. 

When someone with celiac disease eats food that contains gluten, their immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, damaging the villi that absorb nutrients during digestion. 

Celiac disease is a genetic condition often linked to other autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. You’re more likely to have celiac disease if it runs in your family. 

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease symptoms vary widely and depend on the age of onset. In most cases, doctors diagnose celiac disease during childhood. Early diagnosis is important because it helps prevent ongoing damage to the digestive tract.

In children, symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Pale-colored stool
  • Delayed growth
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Poorly developed dental enamel


In adults, celiac disease symptoms may include:

  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Itchy rashes
  • Numbness in the hands and feet
  • Depression or anxiety

Celiac disease in women may also cause infertility or increase the risk of miscarriage. 

What tests can diagnose celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease are similar to other gastrointestinal conditions, and getting an accurate diagnosis is difficult. At Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, the board-certified physicians perform blood tests and intestinal biopsies to diagnose celiac disease.

Blood test

The blood test for celiac disease checks for certain antibodies that are associated with the autoimmune condition. The physicians also run bloodwork to check for anemia.

Intestinal biopsy

Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, performs an upper endoscopy to do an intestinal biopsy, taking a sample of tissue from the small intestine. This biopsy confirms your diagnosis.

What are the treatments for celiac disease?

The primary treatment for celiac disease is avoiding gluten. Gluten is found in many food products, nutritional supplements, and even toothpaste. 

Your provider at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, helps you identify gluten-containing products and how to find suitable replacements. Because of the popularity of the gluten-free diet, you can find many gluten-free items at grocery stores and restaurants.

Call Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, for patient-centered gastroenterology care or schedule an appointment online today.