My Experience with Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is caused by an abnormal immune system reaction to the protein gluten, which is found in foods such as bread, pasta, cereals and biscuits. 

Some people with coeliac disease may find that eating oats can trigger symptoms. This is because some oats may be contaminated by other grains during production.

Coeliac disease is usually treated by simply excluding foods that contain gluten from your diet.

If you have coeliac disease, you can eat the following foods, which naturally don’t contain gluten:

  • Most dairy products, such as cheese, butter and milk
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and fish (although not breaded or battered)
  • Potatoes
  • Rice and rice noodles
  • Gluten-free flours, including rice, corn, soy and potato

By law, food labelled as gluten free can contain no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

In some people, coeliac disease can cause the spleen to work less effectively, making you more vulnerable to infection. 

Malabsorption (where your body doesn’t fully absorb nutrients) can lead to a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals. Leading to osteoporosis – a condition where your bones become brittle and weak. 

If you have coeliac disease, you’re more likely to also develop lactose intolerance, where your body lacks the enzyme to digest the milk sugar (lactose) found in dairy products.

Symptoms of Coeliac Disease: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and flatulence (passing wind)
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • An itchy rash (Although not a symptom of coeliac disease, if you have an autoimmune response to gluten, you may develop a type of skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. The rash is itchy and has blisters that burst when scratched. It usually occurs on your elbows, knees and buttocks, although it can appear anywhere on your body)
  • Malnutrition (If coeliac disease isn’t treated, not being able to digest food in the normal way could cause you to become malnourished, leading to tiredness and a lack of energy)


There are other symptoms, complications, side effects and treatments – the above mentioned is my own personal experience with this disease. It has not been a fun process and after 8 years, I still have people look at me as though it is a lifestyle choice.

It is not. 

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