Coeliac Disease Prevalence & Symptoms


Previously considered a paediatric gastrointestinal disease affecting Caucasian populations, CD is now recognised to affect all ethnic populations (2), primarily those of north European ancestry.

It is thought to affect approximately 1% of the UK population, and onset can occur at any age, but the diagnosis appears to be increasingly common in adulthood versus childhood- a ratio of 9:1 as described (3).


Symptoms vary and can be gastrointestinal or as a result of nutrient malabsorption (e.g. decreased bone mineral density or iron deficiency anaemia). However, it is becoming more common for individuals to be asymptomatic and present with non-classical coeliac disease (4).

Gastrointestinal Symptoms include:

  • Bloating/ Distension
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Steatorrhea (fatty, pale, oily stools as a result of fat malabsorption)
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea

Other symptom include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • Alopecia
  • Dental enamel hypoplasia
  • Ataxia
  • Infertility and miscarriages
  • Delayed puberty
  • Delay of menstruation
  • Bone disorders – osteoporosis and osteopenia
  • Poor concentration