Gastroenterology clinic

Is it childhood coeliac disease? Separating the wheat from the chaff

Emma McIntyre



Coeliac disease is relatively common in children and screening is recommended for those with possible symptoms or conditions that increase risk. The diagnosis should be confirmed before a gluten-free diet is begun.

Article Extract

  • Coeliac disease is an immune-mediated systemic disorder that occurs in response to gluten protein, causing villous atrophy of the small bowel and consequently affecting nutrient absorption. It is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the Australian population and may be increasing in prevalence.1
  • Coeliac disease should be suspected in children with symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea, reduced appetite, abdominal pain and bloating, poor growth, weight loss or delayed menarche.

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Model used for illustrative purposes only