Skip to main content

What is Coeliac Disease?

What is Coeliac Disease?

 By Christine Lewis

What is Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue as a response to eating gluten.  This reaction causes damage to the gut lining preventing the absorption of nutrients from food.  Coeliac disease is not an allergy or food intolerance and can lead to further problems of osteoporosis and anaemia.

 Top Five Symptoms of Coeliac Disease

  • Abdominal pain; bloating, and stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Anaemia

Top Five Risk Factors for Coeliac Disease

  • A skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Having a family member with Coeliac Disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Osteoporosis

How do I know if I have Coeliac disease 

It is essential to first rule out Coeliac disease through a blood test with your GP.  Before you do this, you will need to continue to eat gluten-containing foods.   Your body needs to be producing the autoantibody for the test to show a positive result for Coeliac disease.  

If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, you should strictly avoid all gluten-containing foods.   If you test negative for Coeliac disease, your GP will consider other conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Irritable bowel disease (IBD).  IBS is a common condition and shares similar symptoms to gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity, and for some, the avoidance of gluten reduces IBS symptoms. 


Why can gluten give you bad skin?

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye that, for some, causes gut inflammation and can alter the balance of gut bacteria.  The mechanism is not fully understood, but current research links changes in gut bacteria, often triggered by stressful events, to the weakening of the gut lining. Consequently, these changes to the gut environment seem to have knock-on widespread implications across the body. For example, several skin disorders have been linked to conditions arising from an inability to digest or an immune response caused by eating gluten.  

Top 6 skin conditions linked to gluten    

  • Urticaria – hives or nettle rash
  • Eczema
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Acne

Top 6 skin symptoms linked to gluten

  • Urticaria, also known as hives, or nettle rash, is a raised, itchy rash that appears on the skin.
  • Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is long-term skin inflammation presenting as red, swollen, itchy, cracked skin.
  • Psoriasis is a skin condition causing red, flaking crusty patches of skin appearing with silvery scales. The skin patches usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back but can appear anywhere on the body.
  • Rosacea appears as redness across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin that comes and goes and may occur with a burning or stinging feeling.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis appears as red, raised patches that can blister, itch or sting, often appearing on the elbows, knees, shoulders, buttocks, and face.
  • Acne, often appearing on the face, back and or chest, is caused by a clogging of the hair follicle, forming spots, blackheads and or whiteheads.

Top gluten-containing grains

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye

Foods high in gluten

  • Pasta, ravioli
  • Baked foods; cakes, biscuits, pies
  • Bread and flour
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Crackers, croutons, pancakes
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Alcoholic beverages; beer, malted beverages and grain-based spirits

Top four gluten triggered gut conditions

Gluten can cause several different gut responses, all of which can lead to gut tissue inflammation and discomfort; they are known as;

  • Gluten intolerance is the inability to digest gluten which causes an imbalance of gut bacteria and inflammation.
  • Gluten sensitivity, also known as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, is a delayed immune response to the protein in grains, which causes gut inflammation.
  • Wheat allergy is an immediate, acute immune response to wheat.
  • Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease caused by the gluten protein gliadin found in wheat, barley and rye.

What is gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance often appears after intense periods of stress, which has the effect to create changes to the bacteria and environment of the gut.  It is understood that gluten intolerance is caused by an inability to break down and digest the gluten protein called gliadin.     

What is gluten sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity is a delayed immune response often occurring hours or days after eating gluten, making it difficult to associate with symptoms.  It is unknown if gluten intolerance leads to gluten sensitivity, but the prolonged use of gluten can trigger further food intolerances.    Gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity have very similar symptoms, and their origins are not fully understood.

Signs of gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity  

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Headaches
  • ‘Foggy mind’/ difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety/ depression
  • Joint/ muscle pain
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Skin rashes


What is a wheat allergy

A wheat allergy is an immediate immune response to wheat, known as an IgE immune reaction. 

Signs of a wheat allergy

  • Urticaria, also known as hives, or nettle rash, is a raised, itchy rash that appears on the skin.
  • Atopic dermatitis or Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Sneezing



About Christine Lewis

Christine has a particular interest in brain health and conditions of fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalances and autoimmune conditions.  She has extended her personal study into the growing scientific findings of the altered gut microbiome and their relationship with chronic disease.   

Having managed her own health challenges Christine knows to her own cost the limited help available from conventional medicine in the treatment of many chronic illnesses that are now on the increase.  Suffering with chronic fatigue for many years she decided to embark upon her own research into the scientific advancements of clinical studies within the field of food and diet.  She went on to study nutrition and naturopathic medicine.




  • Coeliac UK

  • Alonzo-Llamazares J, Gibson LE, Rogers RS. (2007) Clinical, pathologic, and immunopathologic features of dermatitis herpetiformis: review of the Mayo Clinic experience. International Journal of Dermatology.

  • Ungprasert P, Wijampreecha K, (2017) Psoriasis and risk of Celiac Disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Indian J Dermatol. 

  • Park J. et al (2019) A Pilot Study about Possible Gluten Sensitivity in Korean Urticaria Patients

  • Egeberg A. (2016) Rosacea and gastrointestinal disorders: a population-based cohort study

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you shortly. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart