Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disorder with permanent intestinal intolerance to the dietary ingestion of gluten. The immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, causing the villi to waste away (atrophy).

Villi are any of numerous minute elongated projections set closely together on a surface, typically increasing its surface area for the absorption of substances, in particular a fingerlike projection of the lining of the small intestine.

The villi function to break down and absorb nutrients from food and when they waste away nutrient deficiencies may occur. The villi grow back after gluten is removed from the diet. This is a life-long condition, and the reintroduction of gluten in the diet will cause the villi to waste away again.

Symptoms of Coeliac Disease

Whilst many people associate Coeliac disease with a range of digestive symptoms it is common for there to be no symptoms at all. Ongoing symptoms can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Abdominal distension
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to thrive
  • Obesity
  • Delayed puberty
  • Psycho-motor delay
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Dental enamel defects
  • Skin rash
  • Unidentified neurological disorders
  • Infertility
  • Osteoporosis and
    • Nutritional deficiencies including:
    • Iron
    • Folic acid
    • Vitamin D and
    • Vitamin B12


The first stage of testing involves getting a blood test done that checks for antibodies.  Depending on the results further testing may be required.

Do I need to be tested? Who should get tested?

It is important to note that you may have Coeliac disease and no symptoms - and you can not tell by looking at you that you suffer from Coeliac disease.

Anyone who has any other auto-immune disorder such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Thyroid disease (Grave’s disease or Hashimoto)
  • Diabetes type 1

It is also important to get tested if those disorders run in your family.

It is also important to rule out the possibility of Coeliac disease if you have other disorders of digestion such as:

  • Ongoing:
    • Diarrhoea
    • Constipation, or
    • Reflux
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, or
  • Lots of flatulence and bloating

Also if you are deficient in Vitamin B12 or iron this may be caused by Coeliac disease and it is important to rule this out as a contributing factor.

Contact Caroline at Healing Solutions to arrange pathology testing in Western Australia.