Celiac Vs. Crohn's: How To Tell The Difference

June 18, 2024


Many people experience digestive issues, and for some, problems with their bowel can become persistent. Many conditions can cause digestive issues, and two you may have heard of are celiac and Crohn’s disease. Many people face the symptoms of these diseases but let them go untreated for years because of a mix-up between the two. 

Here at the Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, we provide treatment for many patients experiencing these conditions. This blog will explain the difference between these conditions, including their symptoms and treatment options, so you can find the relief you deserve. 

Celiac Disease vs. Crohn’s Disease

Celiac and Crohn’s disease are two conditions often confused for each other and widely misunderstood. While both health conditions are digestive disorders, there are many differences between them, including their treatments. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding means many affected people remain undiagnosed. The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates only about 30 percent of sufferers have been diagnosed.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases estimates two million people in the United States have celiac disease, which equates to one percent of the population.

Celiac Disease Symptoms

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Excessive gas
  • Unexplained weight loss

Celiac disease causes an immune response when a person eats gluten. This immune response happens in the small intestine, which is where our body absorbs nutrients from our food. This damage can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed and lead to malnutrition. In children, malabsorption of nutrients may prevent them from growing at the normal rate.

Celiac Disease Treatment Options

The primary treatment used to control the symptoms of celiac disease is a change in diet. Excluding foods containing gluten from the diet under the supervision of a medical professional can make a significant difference in one’s quality of life.

Crohn’s Disease

Like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition, but it is also classed as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease causes an inflammatory response in the digestive tract, leading to a range of symptoms.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort 
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores

Crohn’s disease can lead to malnutrition if not treated and controlled. The CDC has also identified a link between IBD and other chronic health conditions, so we suggest seeking medical care for a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. 

Crohn’s Disease Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Crohn’s disease. A combination of these therapies is often used:

  • Immunomodulators to reduce the immune response and decrease inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Bowel rest to allow the bowel to heal
  • Surgery to treat complications

Find the Relief You Deserve 

While the symptoms of celiac and Crohn’s disease are similar, treatment methods differ. If you suspect you have an issue impacting your colon health, it’s crucial to see a doctor. Experiencing frequent bowel problems can significantly affect your daily life, so seeking specialist help is vital. 

With help from the specialists at Alabama Colon and Rectal Institute, you will receive a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. Proper support and treatment will bring you a step closer to getting your condition under control and minimizing its impact on your life.

Heal Your Body at Alabama Colon & Rectal

Our team at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute strive to provide quality medical care in a comfortable, stress-free environment. Discover a diagnosis for painful conditions, like Crohn’s and celiac disease. Call us at 205-651-5613 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today and find the relief you deserve!

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