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Celiac Disease Specialist

Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC

Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in Hattiesburg, MS

About 1% of the population –– one in 10 people–– has celiac disease. This relatively rare condition causes damage to the small intestine whenever you consume gluten, a mixture of two proteins found in cereal grains like wheat. At Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC, with two convenient locations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists uses conservative, integrative measures to safely treat celiac disease. To schedule an appointment, call the office nearest you or book online today.

Celiac Disease Q & A

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that occurs due to an abnormal immune response to gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in foods made with cereal grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It’s also in certain medicines, cosmetic products, and beverages.

Celiac disease causes your immune system to create toxins that destroy the villi, microscopic, branch-like protrusions that line your small intestine. When villi experience damage, they are unable to process or absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Over time, this can lead to malnutrition and other serious health problems.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease usually causes digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Other indications of celiac disease include:

  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Skin disorders
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility and miscarriage

Celiac disease can also cause dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). DH causes an itchy rash made of bumps and blisters. It can develop anywhere on the body but is especially common on the elbows, buttocks, and knees.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

To diagnose celiac disease, your provider at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC conducts a thorough physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle.

They also order blood tests to detect certain antibodies. People with celiac disease usually have high levels of anti endomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) antibodies. If you have a rash, you might also benefit from a skin biopsy.

If blood tests or a skin biopsy are inconclusive, your provider might recommend an upper endoscopy. During an upper endoscopy, they run a skinny tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) through your mouth and into your intestines. The endoscope helps your doctor detect damage to the villi.

Your provider might also recommend an Olympus ENDOCAPSULE endoscopy or allergy testing. Some people experience digestive symptoms if they have a gluten sensitivity or a gluten intolerance. Allergy testing can pinpoint the source of your symptoms and also rule out problems like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

How is celiac disease treated?

The only way to effectively treat celiac disease is to remove gluten from your diet entirely. By avoiding gluten altogether, your villi can heal and absorb the nutrients in the food you eat.

After making a diagnosis, your provider at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC develops a treatment plan that helps you avoid gluten while maintaining a nutritious diet. They also provide you with tips and insights on shopping for gluten-free foods and products.

Most people experience a significant reduction in their symptoms after they change their diet. To achieve the best possible results, be patient, and follow your provider’s instructions carefully.

To learn more about treatment for celiac disease, schedule an appointment at Hattiesburg GI Associates PLLC. Call the office nearest you or book a consultation online today.