One of the many signs of celiac disease is intestinal pain symptoms. The disease affects the digestive system, causing both physical damage to body tissues and malabsorption of nutrients. Like many conditions, symptoms will vary including the intensity of your pain. Also, some individuals may not experience pain at all. Since celiac disease can cause long-term complications, the warning sign of intestinal pain can aid an early diagnosis, decreasing your risk of secondary conditions.
Factors Influencing Symptoms
Several factors can determine how celiac disease will manifest in your body. Things such as the length of time you were breastfed--if you were at all--can influence the degree of the classic abdominal bloating and intestinal pain symptoms you feel. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, symptoms tend to show up later in individuals who were breastfed for a longer period of time.
How much gluten-containing food you eat can also affect your symptoms. In very sensitive individuals, consuming small amounts of gluten may trigger a reaction.
Other Causes of Intestinal Pain Symptoms
One cause of intestinal pain can involve a lack of the enzyme, lactase, in your system. Lactase is essential in order for your body to breakdown lactose into its by-products, glucose and galactose.Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to celiac disease, including diarrhea, abdominal bloating and pain. Unfortunately, symptoms also mimic irritable bowel syndrome, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. Not knowing you are gluten-intolerant will cause abdominal pain to persist due to wrong diagnoses and continued gluten consumption. Celiac disease will cause your body to attack the villi of the small intestine. Hence, your body will not be able to digest and absorb lactase properly and pain will result from this indigestion.
Treating and Coping with Abdominal Pain
Since some individuals may experience intense abdominal pain, it is often necessary to find ways in which to cope. Fortunately, if gluten is the culprit causing your distress, your body will respond well to removing gluten from your diet. The damage of the villi lining the small intestine will typically repair itself.
The emotional challenges of coping with celiac disease make it important for you to find support. It can be excruciating to hear your celiac child cry out in response to abdominal pain. It is important, therefore, to become educated about gluten and foods which contain this protein. Knowledge will give you the power to avoid intestinal pain symptoms.
In order to avoid intestinal pain, you or your family member must follow a gluten-free diet. This is the only way your body can repair itself. The difficulty of following such a diet deals with all the hidden sources of gluten in foods you eat. While it is obvious you have to avoid most breads, you may not realize that foods such as candy or sauces contain gluten. If you are especially vulnerable, not knowing that gluten is present in these foods can set you up for an unpremeditated attack.
Depending upon the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medications such as vitamin and mineral supplements to supplement nutrient absorption in your small intestine. He may also prescribe corticosteroids such as prednisone in cases of intestinal swelling and inflammation or if your body is responding too slowly to treatment.
Going gluten-free is a lifelong task as there is no cure for celiac disease. Fortunately, there is a greater awareness of the condition in today's world. Better food labeling makes it possible for you to make good decisions and avoid an onset of abdominal symptoms. You are more likely to find restaurants that offer gluten-free foods and have taken the time to educate their staff about proper food handling.
Living pain free will give you the motivation to stick to your gluten-free diet. The important thing to remember is that, with celiac disease, you are in control of your abdominal pain symptoms. You have the ability to heal yourself and follow a healthy lifestyle. There is no reason in which you must live with the discomfort of intestinal pain.