Only a decade ago, celiac disease was thought to be a rare disorder that mainly affected European populations. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the finger-like extensions (villi) of the small intestine to flatten when a person with celiac eats gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in some grains, like wheat, rye and barley.
In people with celiac disease, eating anything with gluten can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, anemia and other nutrient deficiencies. Some people with celiac disease also develop a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. There is no cure for celiac disease; the only “prescription” is a lifelong gluten-free diet, which allows the intestine to heal and provides symptom relief.