Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Women
Celiac Disease is a condition of the digestive tract and the symptoms of celiac disease in women are concentrated on the parts of the stomach or of the digestive system. The symptoms of celiac disease in women should be noticed right away because this disease is a chronic condition of the stomach that poses a great risk to one’s health.
Celiac disease is a condition wherein the linings of the small intestines are damaged leading to the malabsorption of the important minerals and nutrients from food. Our small intestines play a very vital role in our body. Aside from the absorption of the important nutrients and minerals to be distributed throughout the body, the small intestines work to receive secretions from the bile that would help solidify the stool.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease in women happens when the inner linings of the small intestines called villi are destroyed, thus impairing the small intestine’s functions. The cause of celiac disease still remains unknown, however, it is said that this disease is acquired genetically or inherited from relatives or parents. The intestines cannot tolerate gluten so when a woman with celiac disease eats a gluten rich food, it would cause the villi or the linings of the small intestines to be inflamed and eventually destroyed. Gluten is made up of proteins called gliadin. The gliadin is the culprit for destroying the linings of the small intestines. Examples of gluten-rich foods are wheat, rye, barley and oats.
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Women
There are two major categories for the symptoms of celiac disease in women; one is malabsorption and the other is malnutrition. Let’s take a closer look at each category to better understand the symptoms.
• Malabsorption – As aforementioned, the destruction of the linings of the small intestines impairs its primary function to absorb important vitamins and nutrients that need to be distributed throughout the body.
Malabsorption of fat would cause the woman to suffer the symptoms of chronic diarrhea, excessive gas with foul odor, the feeling of bloating and an increased amount of fat in stool. This is distinguishable if one’s stool float in the toilet bowl and its consistency is somewhat oily.
Malabsorption of carbohydrates causes abdominal pain, excessive gas, diarrhea, and lactose intolerance. The linings of the small intestines include an important component called lactase. The lactase is responsible for breaking down sugar lactose. Without this, the individual cannot tolerate carbohydrates and sugar lactose found in milk.
Malnutrition – Because the small intestines fail in their function to absorb the minerals and vitamins from the food one eats, this would cause an evident malnutrition of the individual.
Weight loss is one of the common symptoms of celiac disease in women. This is because most of the important nutrients needed by the body are directly flushed out.
The individual would also suffer anemia or low blood count of the red blood cells because the intestines cannot absorb vitamin b12 and iron.
One of the symptoms of celiac disease in women also includes osteoporosis due to the lack of vitamin D and deficiency in calcium absorption. Milk is one of the foods that could make one’s bones strong and healthy; however, an individual with celiac disease is lactose intolerant, thus he/she cannot also endure milk.
Vitamin K is one of the essential vitamins that greatly help in clotting the blood. This vitamin is not absorbed as well and would cause the individual to bruise easily.
The problem with absorption of all these important nutrients makes the individual with celiac disease feel weak and fatigued.
Management of Celiac Disease in Women
Gluten triggers the symptoms of celiac disease in women. Unfortunately, celiac disease has no known cure. The best way to manage celiac disease is to have a gluten free diet. Below are some helpful tips on how to achieve this diet:
• Be knowledgeable of the foods that contain gluten. Foods that have wheat, rye and barley are known to have gluten composition. Examples of products with those ingredients are bread, pasta, pies, cereals and cakes.
• Oats can be tolerated by some women with celiac disease; however, some of the oats would contain gluten. It is best to be on the safer side and avoid eating oats.
• When purchasing food, make it a habit to look at the ingredients listed on the labels. Some processed foods may have gluten as an ingredient. Examples of processed foods that may contain gluten are salad dressings, canned soup, instant coffee, canned goods, yogurt, and ice cream.
• Do not buy over the counter medicines without consulting your doctor first. Some of the medicines use wheat starch as binder.
• Avoid eating or drinking dairy products because they contain lactose. The linings of your intestines lack the important component to break down the lactose present in the dairy products, hence, resulting to diarrhea. Some women with celiac disease, however, can tolerate small amounts of lactose. But just to be safe, consult your doctor so that he can run some diagnostic tests to confirm if you are lactose tolerant or not.
• It is important to eat to sustain one’s health. Ask the local nutritionist about the list of foods that are gluten free and at the same time ask for the list of foods that contain gluten so that you will know what to avoid.
• Since the intestines cannot absorb the important vitamins and minerals from the food needed by the body, it is vital that the person with celiac disease drink vitamins to compensate for the unabsorbed ones. Consult your doctor for the best vitamins to take. He/she would most likely prescribe vitamins K, D, B12 and iron.
The symptoms of celiac disease in women are triggered when she eats food that contains gluten. Since this disease is not curable, the best way to manage it is just to motivate oneself to avoid the foods with gluten and eat the ones that are free from it.