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Celiac Disease

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack the small intestine when an individual eats gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye and wheat. This reaction can damage the villi of the small intestine, which help the body absorb nutrients from the digestive tract.

When these villi become damaged, it can impact that process and prevent important nutrients from entering into the body. Damage to the intestine can also result in diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.

Cause and Risk Factors

The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but it's more likely to affect people with a family history of celiac, suggesting it's hereditary. Consider these statistics:

  • It’s estimated that celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.
  • Individuals with a parent, child or sibling with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 risk of developing the disease. 

Other risk factors include:


Symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly, but most often includes:

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

View all celiac disease symptoms >

A Team Approach to Care

The Temple Digestive Disease Center delivers a team-centered, state-of-the-art approach to a wide range of digestive diseases and conditions, including celiac disease. Our gastroenterologists are highly trained and offer the latest advances in care, including minimally invasive procedures and proven surgical techniques. At Temple, our patients receive:

  • Expert care – Our board-certified gastroenterologists see more than 13,000 patients every year, offering unmatched insight and experience into helping you manage your unique digestive disorder.

  • Latest advances in care – Temple gastroenterologists are the leaders in minimally invasive surgery and are often the first to offer the newest standards of care for a wide range of digestive disorders.

  • State-of-the-art facilities – We offer advanced technology to diagnose, treat and manage complex digestive disorders.

  • Clinical trials – Part of a leading academic center, Temple physicians participate in the latest research and clinical trials for digestive disorders, including access and opportunity to participate in select trials.

  • Convenient location – Our Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program offers outstanding care at convenient locations across Greater Philadelphia.

We're proud to be the proven leader in digestive disorders and deliver innovative care in diagnosing, treating and managing your celiac disease so that you can live a full, healthy and active life.

When to Seek a Specialist

If you experience diarrhea or abdominal cramping and pain for more than two weeks, contact a gastroenterologist to help find the cause of your discomfort. A gastroenterologist will work closely with you to identify your risk.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of celiac disease, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat celiac disease.