Medically reviewed on Sept 20, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Current clinical research into celiac disease indicates that rates of the autoimmune condition are unreported and on the rise. 
Because celiac disease symptoms are treated with a gluten-free celiac disease diet plan, celiac disease is most commonly associated with gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain and digestive distress. However, many people with celiac disease don’t experience or notice digestive disturbances. Instead, they may present with “hidden” or extraintestinal symptoms that affect other body regions. These hidden celiac disease symptoms can easily be overlooked, appear isolated, or can be attributed to another health condition.
For this reason, many people don’t know they have celiac disease until they undergo serological testing. If you’ve been experiencing a confusing complex of health concerns, gastrointestinal symptoms, gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance, it’s worth getting a handle on the hidden symptoms of celiac disease. Let’s explore 8 of the most common below.
Sudden weight loss, or the inability to keep on weight, is very common in people with celiac disease.  Often, unexplained weight loss is misattributed to “natural” causes. Or, if a person struggles with being overweight and has been trying to lose weight, it could be attributed to weight loss efforts.
Celiac disease can cause weight loss for several reasons:
That said, there are people with celiac disease who don’t lose weight as a result of this condition. But, if you experience sudden, unintentional weight loss, it’s important to check in with a healthcare provider to explore possible causes.
Sudden mood swings or emotional flare-ups happen to all of us, but if they occur frequently along with digestive discomfort, they may point to another causal factor. Celiac disease can contribute to an unstable mood by :
Moreover, difficulty absorbing nutrients can lead to malnutrition. Not being nourished can make it very challenging to regulate emotional responses, as well as normal physical functioning.
Likewise, individuals living with depression or anxiety may notice an exaggeration in their low mood or stress levels.2 Fortunately, the primary treatment for celiac disease—a gluten-free diet—has been shown to significantly improve depressive and anxious symptoms after just one year of adherence. 
Fatigue is often cited as one of the more common symptoms of celiac disease. But because fatigue has so many possible causes, it may easily be overlooked.
With celiac disease, fatigue can occur for two key reasons:
Moreover, frequent digestive distress can often compromise sleep quantity and quality, making you feel tired. If you’re frequently experiencing feelings of mental, physical, or even emotional tiredness, it’s a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider.
Closely related to chronic feelings of tiredness, anemia is another common but often ignored consequence of celiac disease.  People who are anemic have iron deficiencies that can result in:
Headaches and migraines are highly common in both children and adults with celiac disease.  This symptom is associated with:
Overall, people with celiac disease tend to get headaches more frequently than people without it.  Fortunately, diagnosing celiac disease early and sticking to a strict gluten-free diet can help minimize headache and migraine frequency in most patients.
Arthritis, also referred to as celiac arthritis, is a common comorbidity of untreated celiac disease.6 It can cause soreness or stiffness of the joints, as well as swelling or a limited range of motion. 
About 30% of people with celiac disease may see an improvement in joint pain upon following a gluten-free diet. However, arthritis can get worse if celiac disease is not treated.6 Without proper management of celiac disease, other related and more severe rheumatological and musculoskeletal problems can arise. 
For instance, malabsorption of nutrients often results in bone density loss.6 For this reason, celiac disease patients may be more likely to fracture their bones and even develop osteopenia or osteoporosis down the line. 
Both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can carry symptoms that adversely affect the skin.8 Because they may or may not appear alongside digestive discomfort or weight loss, they’re often mistaken for isolated dermatological conditions.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is one common skin condition that’s typical in people with celiac disease.  It tends to appear on the elbows, knees, buttocks, or scalp.  Dermatitis herpetiformis can cause :
It’s possible to develop dermatitis herpetiformis without having celiac disease.8 Screening for markers of celiac disease is one way to determine whether your skin rashes could result from an underlying autoimmune condition.
Many illnesses that impact digestion can change your bowel habits, but they can also cause stool to change in color and consistency. Some people with celiac disease, especially children, notice :
Stool that carries these traits may indicate large amounts of fat in the stool that comes from gluten that wasn’t processed by the digestive system.  Changes in stool may be easy to ignore, but they can also be important markers of an underlying illness.
Whenever normal digestive processes are jeopardized, it can be very difficult for the body to perform normal physical functioning. As such, untreated celiac disease can have a cascade of long-term consequences, among them:
It’s important to understand that you can lower many of the long-term health risks associated with celiac disease by following and maintaining a gluten-free diet.
See related: Can Celiac Disease Go Away On Its Own?
Celiac disease symptoms tend to be diverse and distributed widely throughout the body. For this reason, healthcare professionals use various methods to diagnose it and rule out other potential conditions.
The first step is to inform your healthcare provider of any symptoms you may have noticed—even if they appear unrelated.
After your evaluation, your healthcare provider may order :
Treatment is an important part of understanding how celiac disease affects a given individual.
When you begin a strict gluten-free diet, you may be relieved of symptoms you didn’t previously notice. Some people even see an improvement within days or weeks after eliminating gluten from their diet—a fresh start to a healthier, more fulfilling life. 
Celiac disease can be a complex condition, but it’s usually manageable by sticking to a gluten-free diet. Knowing your status is the best way to avert long-term health effects, and today, you can test at home with the Everlywell Celiac Disease Screening Test.
With CLIA-certified lab results and a broad network of certified healthcare professionals, Everlywell plugs you into reliable testing and supportive care if you need further treatment.
Find out more about convenient, affordable at-home testing options by reaching out to Everlywell today.