There is no cure for celiac disease, but symptoms can be managed with a strict gluten-free diet and medication. Removing gluten from your diet can relieve the painful and uncomfortable side effects of eating gluten. As soon as you stop eating and drinking foods and drinks with gluten, your symptoms will begin to subside – from inflammation improving in a few short days and other symptoms healing slowly thereafter.
The most common and effective treatment of celiac disease is a change in diet. Your gastroenterologist will accurately diagnose your condition and develop an effective treatment plan. Regular check-ins will monitor your nutrient levels to verify that the dietary changes aren’t causing a lack of certain nutrients.
If you avoid wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer’s yeast and oats, you may not be getting all the necessary nutrients. Gluten-free diets are often low in fiber, iron and calcium.
There are several alternative ingredients that can replace important nutrients in wheat, barley, rye and other gluten-based foods and drinks. These alternatives include amaranth, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and teff.
Vitamin supplements are an important part of your celiac disease diet. Recommended supplements may include calcium, iron and B-12, among others.
Your gastroenterologist may refer you to a dietitian to help you make a plan to avoid foods with gluten, including foods with:
- Graham flour
Any amount of gluten can damage the small intestine and can lead to long-term complications. Be sure to read ingredient labels on all food and drinks, and watch for hidden gluten in items such as:
- Food starch
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines
- Vitamins and minerals
- Nutritional supplements
In certain cases, a change in diet won’t be enough to resolve serious symptoms such as severe inflammation. Medication, including steroids, may be a valid option based on diagnosis and symptom severity.