Member login 

What Is Coeliac Disease

WHAT IS COELIAC DISEASE?

Coeliac disease (pronounced see-lee-ak) is a permanent intestinal reaction to dietary gluten. With coeliac disease, the cells lining the small bowel (intestine) become damaged and inflamed. This causes flattening of the tiny, finger like projections, called villi, which line the inside of the bowel.

The function of the villi is to break down and absorb nutrients in food. When these villi become flat, the surface area of the bowel is greatly decreased, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. This may lead to deficiencies in vitamins (such as folic acid) and minerals (e.g. iron and calcium).

Coeliac disease is hereditary, however both genetic and environmental factors play important roles in coeliac disease. It is currently estimated that 60,000 to 70,000 New Zealanders have coeliac disease (1 in 70), however up to 80% of those are unaware they have the condition.

SYMPTOMS OF COELIAC DISEASE

COMMON IN ADULTS

Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
The symptoms of coeliac disease vary considerably. Listed below are some of the commonly reported symptoms which may occur alone or in combination:
Fatigue, weakness and lethargy
  • This can be due to anaemia – iron or folic acid deficiency are the most common. The anaemia will either not respond to treatment or will recur after treatment until the correct diagnosis is made and a gluten free diet is commenced.
  • Weight loss
  • Osteoporosis (thin bones)
Diarrhoea or Chronic constipation
  • This may begin at any age and is often present for years prior to diagnosis. some are more likely to experience constipation rather than diarrhoea
  • Flatulence and abdominal distension
  • Cramping and bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting

LESS COMMON IN ADULTS

Some less common symptoms include:
  • Easy bruising of the skin
  • Ulcerations and/or swelling of mouth and tongue
  • Miscarriages and infertility
  • Muscle spasms due to low blood calcium levels
  • B12, A, D, E and K vitamin deficiency
  • Skin rashes such as Dermatitis Herpetiformis
  • Neurological issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Bone and joint pains

BECOME A MEMBER

  • Get advice, support, recipes and more throughout your coeliac journey
  • Become part of a lively and supportive community
  • Receive updates from medical professionals, manufacturers, and researchers
  • Gain access to our member only resources, support groups, kids’ clubs, special offers, and the Coeliac Link magazine
MEMBER PLANS

COMMON IN CHILDREN

Symptoms do not occur until gluten is introduced into an infant diet – later onset is also possible.
  • Large, bulky, foul stools
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chronic constipation
  • Poor weight gain
  • Weight loss in older children
  • Chronic anaemia
  • Poor growth or poor height gains
  • Abdominal distension, pain and flatulence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability

"Together, we are GF for life"

Coeliac New Zealand is available throughout your journey. As part of our community, you’ll get support, advice, and assistance. We work with health professionals, manufacturers, and researchers to raise awareness of coeliac disease in NZ.

Together, we can reach a day when every person with coeliac disease gets diagnosed quickly, lives a healthy life, and has the prospect of a cure.

GET INVOLVED

Support your charity – the only not-for-profit supporting Kiwis with coeliac disease. Become part of Coeliac New Zealand now.

VOLUNTEER

We're recruiting for volunteers - interested? Share your knowledge and experience with others living with the disease. Find out how.

GET IN TOUCH

DONATE

Help us reach more people who are suffering from coeliac disease. Contribute to the greater good of your community.

MAKE A DONATION

LEARNING RESOURCES

Access the online course, approved by the Division for Pediatric Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Munich, Germany.

UNDERSTANDING CD

TREATMENT

Coeliac disease is treated by a life-long gluten free diet. By specifically removing the cause of the disease, this treatment allows all abnormalities to recover completely. As long as the diet is adhered to strictly, patients can recover.

An initial few weeks on both a gluten/lactose free diet will allow the bowel lining to replace its 'lactase' enzyme quantities, which digest lactose sugar prior to absorption. This may take longer for some individuals than others.

GET
DIAGNOSED

Think you may be Coeliac. Find out what you need to do here

VIEW MORE

ONLINE ASSESSMENT

Not sure? Take our free and confidential self-assessment

VIEW MORE

ABOUT COELIAC NEW ZEALAND

Your partner in
healthy living

Coeliac New Zealand is available throughout your journey. As part of our community, you’ll get support, advice, and assistance. We work with health professionals, manufacturers, and researchers to raise awareness of coeliac disease in NZ.

Together, we can reach a day when every person with coeliac disease gets diagnosed quickly, lives a healthy life, and has the prospect of a cure.

LATEST NEWS

22/09/2020
Indirect effects of living with a life-long condition

The gluten-free diet is an effective coeliac disease treatment for most people, eliminating symptoms, and allowing the small bowel to heal. Nonetheless, navigating the day-to-day challenges of coeliac disease can be difficult. Having to closely read labels, avoid cross-contamination, and explaining your condition to others can make one’s diagnosis feel like a burden. The research […]

Read More
14/09/2020
Caring For A Child With Coeliac Disease

Caring for someone else’s child, especially when they need a gluten free diet, may require an attention to detail you are not familiar with. What is gluten and where is it found? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Someone with coeliac disease will get sick when they eat anything containing […]

Read More
10/08/2020
Tips for making healthy gluten free lunches!

Choose foods your kiddy likes. If you want to introduce new foods or recipes, try them at home first and when you have your kid on board, add them in the lunchboxes. When we feed kids, it’s helpful to follow the division of responsibility. It’s the parents’ job to provide the food you want your […]

Read More
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram