What is Involved in Celiac Disease Treatment?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Celiac disease treatment usually entails following a diet that is entirely free from gluten. This means not eating any foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, or even oats. It is important to read the ingredients as they are listed on food labels since gluten can be hidden in the most unlikely products. Consuming a gluten-free diet to treat celiac disease also can help prevent other heath-related concerns from developing.

Wheat contains gluten, which cannot be digested by people with celiac disease.
Wheat contains gluten, which cannot be digested by people with celiac disease.

Gluten is a broad term for specific proteins found in grains. People expect gluten in many foods, such as bread, cereal, and pasta. However, for complete celiac disease treatment, it is essential to read labels and look for gluten in source where it may not be expected, such as soy sauce, various frozen foods, and salad dressing. Affected individuals must also remember to avoid beer, whiskey, and other alcohols that are made from wheat, rye, or barley. In many cases, oats can be reintroduced into the diet of a person with celiac disease after the first year of following a gluten-free diet.

Some people with celiac disease can digest oats.
Some people with celiac disease can digest oats.

Immediately after a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, a strict diet that is free from gluten should be followed. Since celiac disease may cause damage to the intestines of the affected individual, many people are also told to avoid dairy products until their intestines heal. During initial celiac disease treatment, a dietitian consultation may be recommended. The dietitian may help the affected individual become more aware of foods that contain gluten and may also give the individual meal plans to help her stick with a diet free from gluten.

People with celiac disease can eat fruits and vegetables.
People with celiac disease can eat fruits and vegetables.

After the first two weeks of celiac disease treatment, many people will find that their symptoms have improved greatly. Generally, affected individuals will find that they have almost no symptoms after they are free from gluten for about three months. The intestines may take up to six months before they completely heal.

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestines that can lead to cancer if left untreated.
Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestines that can lead to cancer if left untreated.

For most affected people, celiac disease treatment is a life-long process. They must follow a diet that is free from gluten to prevent symptoms from returning. In addition, following a gluten-free diet allows affected individuals to avoid more significant complications, such as damage to the intestines and cancer; the diet may help children with celiac disease avoid delayed growth as well. In some cases, if celiac disease treatment does not work or if the disease has progressed too far, oral steroids may be recommended for a short period of time.

Some symptoms such as dermatitis herpetiformis may be treated separately.
Some symptoms such as dermatitis herpetiformis may be treated separately.

It is important to remember that the only celiac disease treatment is avoiding food and drinks that contain gluten from wheat, rye, or barley. Some people may feel that they can eat gluten from time to time without any side effects, yet this is not the case. Damage is still occurring to the small intestines regardless of whether or not symptoms are experienced. If the damage occurs over a long period of time, it may lead to cancer, such as lymphoma.

Customers should read labels carefully to ensure the products they are buying are gluten free.
Customers should read labels carefully to ensure the products they are buying are gluten free.
Those affected by celiac disease should avoid whiskey and other alcohols made from wheat, rye or barley.
Those affected by celiac disease should avoid whiskey and other alcohols made from wheat, rye or barley.
Many people with celiac disease must avoid dairy products until their intestines heal.
Many people with celiac disease must avoid dairy products until their intestines heal.
During the first two weeks of treatment, those with celiac disease often find their symptoms are greatly improved.
During the first two weeks of treatment, those with celiac disease often find their symptoms are greatly improved.
Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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