How is celiac disease treated?

If you have celiac disease, you can't eat any foods that contain gluten (including wheat, rye, barley, and oats). Dropping gluten from your diet usually improves the condition within a few days and eventually ends the symptoms of the disease. In most cases, the villi are healed within 6 months.

You'll have to remain on this diet for the rest of your life; eating any gluten at all can damage your intestine and restart the problem.

Some people with celiac disease have so much damage to their intestines that a gluten-free diet will not help them. These patients may have to receive intravenous (through a vein) nutrition supplements.

Following a gluten-free diet means you cannot eat many "staples," including pasta, cereals, and many processed foods that contain grains. There may also be gluten in ingredients added to food to improve texture or flavor, and products used in food packaging.

If you have celiac disease, you can still eat a well-balanced diet. For instance, bread and pasta made from other types of flour (potato, rice, corn, or soy) are available. Food companies and some grocery stores also carry gluten-free bread and products.

You can also eat fresh foods that have not been artificially processed, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, since these do not contain gluten.

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