Celiac Disease | Symptoms and Causes

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Celiac Disease Program

  • 617-355-6058
  • International: +1-617-355-6058

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease can be very different from child to child and also dependent on age. The classic symptoms that are prevalent in children under the age of 3 include:

  • abdominal pain and/or cramps 
  • abdominal distension (bloating)
  • diarrhea (loose stools)
  • constipation (hard stools)
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • decreased appetite
  • increased fatigue
  • weight loss or poor weight gain
  • short stature or poor growth
  • frequent mouth ulcers

Now that there are blood tests that can help establish a celiac disease diagnosis, and doctors are becoming increasingly familiar with atypical signs and symptoms, celiac disease is also increasingly being diagnosed in older children — in fact, the average age of diagnosis is currently around 9 years old.

These signs and symptoms include:

  • delayed puberty
  • behavioral problems
  • iron deficiency
  • osteopenia/osteoporosis
  • hepatitis
  • arthritis
  • infertility
  • migraines
  • seizures
  • neuropathy

What causes celiac disease?

Doctors haven’t yet figured out exactly how someone develops celiac disease. We do know that people with celiac disease always inherit one particular gene from a parent that makes them susceptible to the disease. But since many people have that gene but never develop celiac disease, it’s likely that other genes play a part, too.

Some researchers believe that celiac disease may be triggered by the combination of:

  • having the gene(s) that make you susceptible
  • exposure to gluten
  • exposure to a toxin or an infection (such as a rotavirus)
Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

Close