Celiac disease treatment

The only way to treat celiac disease is by restricting oneself a gluten-free diet. In most cases this will make symptoms disappear, give the intestines a chance to heal, and prevent damage to the intestine in the future.
The effect of switching to a diet of stricly gluten-free foods is usually noticable within a few days. For the intestine to be completely healed it will generally take up to half a year. For older adults the healing process can take more time for the villi to be back and working, up to 2 years.

People with celiac disease are on a gluten-free diet for their whole life. Even the smallest amount of gluten can damage the intestine.

In some cases a gluten-free diet doesn't offer any improvement. These are the people whose intestines are heavily damaged, beyond the healing powers of a gluten-free diet.
To prevent malnutrition, intravenous nutrition supplements are necessary. Drug treatments may also be an option for people who don't respond to a gluten-free diet.

The Gluten-Free Diet

A gluten-free diet means eliminating all products containing:

  • wheat

  • rye

  • barley

This means most regular grain, pasta, and cereal, as well as the majority of processed foods should be avoided.

There are gluten-free bread and pasta and other products available from specialty stores. They may be a bit hard to find in some areas and usually expensive.

Alternatives for wheat flour are:

  • potato flour

  • rice flour

  • soy flour

  • bean flour

oats and gluten
Some people with celiac disease don't show a reaction to oats. The topic is controversial and studies on this are being carried out and not completed yet. One might reason that it is safer to avoid oats until more definitive results on this topic are available. Always consult with your physician or dietitian regarding your gluten-free diet.

Foods that are gluten-free

  • Plain meat

  • Fish

  • Rice

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

Following a gluten-free diet can be difficult and complicated.

People with celiac disease have to be extremely careful about the foods they eat, especially if they didn't prepare the food themselves. Gluten can be hidden in processed food products in the form of additives, preservatives and stabilizers.

It helps having a dietitian who can assist in adapting a new life style and giving you advice on your gluten-free diet. Support groups are extremely helpful as well.