There is no typical celiac. Individuals range from having no symptoms (asymptomatic or “latent” forms of the disease) to extreme cases where patients present to their physicians with gas, bloating, diarrhea, and weight loss due to malabsorption.
In between these two extremes lie a wide variety of symptoms that include:
Steatorrhea (fatty stools that float rather than sink)
Any problem associated with vitamin deficiencies
Iron deficiency (anemia)
Easily fractured bones
Abnormal or impaired skin sensation (paresthesia),
Including burning, prickling, itching or tingling
Peripheral Neuropathy* (tingling in fingers and toes)
Individuals have reported such varied symptoms as:
White flecks on the fingernails
Fuzzy-mindedness after gluten ingestion
Burning sensations in the throat
In children, the symptoms may include:
Failure to thrive
Inability to concentrate
Pot belly with or without painful bloating
Pale, malodorous, bulky stools
Requent, foamy diarrhea
In addition to all of these, dermatitis herpetiformis, a disease in which severe rashes appear (often on the head, elbows, knees and buttocks) is related to celiac disease.
Reactions to ingestion of gluten can be immediate, or delayed for weeks or even months.
The amazing thing about celiac disease is that no two individuals who have it seem to have the same set of symptoms or reactions. A person might have several of the symptoms listed above, a few of them, one, or none. There are even cases in which obesity turned out to be a symptom of celiac disease.