Treatment for Coeliac Disease

Treatment for Coeliac Disease

What is the treatment for coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is managed by following a strict, lifelong gluten free diet. It’s a huge lifestyle change for most people when they are first diagnosed, and feeling apprehensive at this time is completely understandable.  There is a lot to learn about your condition, but don’t worry, there is lots of support available for people with coeliac disease!

Once you have started on a gluten-free diet, you should start to feel better quickly although some people find it takes up to a year for their symptoms to go altogether. However, it can take longer for the gut damage caused by eating gluten to fully heal. 

Whilst accidental slip ups may occur, especially in the early days of following a gluten free diet, this is completely understandable, and is unlikely to cause any lasting damage to the lining of the gut. Continued consumption of gluten though may lead to some associated long-term health risks such as osteoporosis, infertility, and gastrointestinal cancer and therefore, it is important to minimise the risk of repeated gluten exposure in the future. 

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What care can I expect now I have coeliac disease?

Now you have a diagnosis of coeliac disease you will be managed by a healthcare professional team which may include your gastroenterologist, GP, pharmacist and dietitian.

A typical process that might be followed after a diagnosis of coeliac disease is shown in our next steps.

Next steps

Long term coeliac disease care

National guidance for the management of coeliac disease recommends that an annual review appointment should be carried out where routine blood tests may be undertaken to monitor your nutritional status and health. Who you will see at these review appointments may vary depending on where you live and the services provided in your area. Follow up is important, particularly at times of stress or pregnancy.

Associated conditions

Will coeliac disease go away without treatment?

No. The only way to manage coeliac disease is with a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where your body has an abnormal immune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This response leads to the body producing coeliac antibodies as well as damage to the lining of your small intestine. Following a strict gluten-free diet allows the lining of your gut to heal and your body is able to absorb nutrients from food.

If coeliac disease remains undiagnosed or untreated, it is possible that the symptoms associated with the condition, such as diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps, fatigue and anaemia, will continue.

There is also a greater risk of developing long-term health complications associated with undiagnosed and untreated coeliac disease. These include nutritional deficiencies, for example anaemia, osteoporosis, neurological conditions and, in rare cases, gut cancer.

Is coeliac disease completely curable?

No. There is no known cure for coeliac disease currently. However, it can be successfully managed by following a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet, which will alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of long-term health complications associated with the condition such as anaemia, osteoporosis, neurological conditions and, in rare cases, gut cancer.

There has been ongoing research into possible cures for the condition over a number of years including the development of a vaccine. Research is still being undertaken in this area and the possibility of a vaccine is still years away whilst the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as possible side effects, are evaluated.

Other research has helped provide a greater understanding of the disease process in coeliac disease, which can be used to potentially identify other possible treatment options or a cure.

© 2021. Glutafin. Dr. Schär UK Ltd. 401 Faraday Street, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6GA
© 2021. Glutafin. Dr. Schär UK Ltd. 401 Faraday Street, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6GA