Top 3 Non-Digestive Symptoms of Celiac Disease

what you need to know

If you are experiencing chronic digestive issues or have questions about your health, please give Dr. Heintze a call today (425) 686-4498 for a health evaluation and consultation.

Yes and No Foods Guide

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the ingestion of the protein gluten. Gluten causes chronic inflammation and damage to the intestinal cells lining the small intestine. This inflammation and damage to the intestinal cells prohibits nutrient and vitamin absorption leading to malabsorption. People with celiac disease may have symptoms that are not related to digestion and there is a large percentage of people who do not have any symptoms but upon testing are found positive for celiac disease.

What is gluten, anyway? Read Dr. Ellie’s previous posts on gluten here.

Celiac disease symptoms:

There are over 300 known symptoms associated with celiac disease, and not all of them are related to digestion. One of the most frequent misinformation going around about celiac disease is that you “have to have problems with digestion.” This is just not true, often people have other symptoms not related directly to digestion.

Celiac disease and going gluten-free

Below are the Top 3 celiac disease symptoms not related to digestion:

  • Infertility

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying. Known factors that increase risk for infertility in both men and women include: smoking, alcohol consumption, weight, and toxin exposure. The rate of celiac among women reporting infertility was found to 4.1%. Grab Dr. Ellie’s Enhance Fertility guide here.

  • Skin issues

It has been known for some time that there is a chronic skin condition that is directly related to celiac, dermatitis herpetiformis. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a non-contagious skin rash that is extremely itchy and blisters. The rash may occur on the elbows, knees, or buttocks and may often subside leaving a hypo-pigmented area. The prevalence of people with dermatitis herpetiformis that also have celiac disease is around 20% and not every person with celiac will have dermatitis herpetiformis.

  • Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder affecting the nervous system often associated with autoimmune conditions. Common symptoms are nerve pain or numbness/tingling in face, arms, legs, feet or torso, as well as lack of coordination and extreme sensitivity to touch. Neuropathy is very common with people with autoimmune diseases and in a recent study it was found that 5% of patients with peripheral neuropathy had celiac. Some patients receive relief from nerve pain symptoms through acupuncture, correcting any nutrient deficiencies, and stress management. However, the best way to treat peripheral neuropathy is to find the root cause of the nerve pain and correct any deficiencies.

If you are experiencing any of the above conditions or have questions about your health, please give Dr. Heintze a call today (425) 686-4498 for a health evaluation and consultation.

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She specializes in chronic and complex cases and commonly treats neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune, and infertility cases. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free  and Keep Calm and Zen Out available on Amazon.


Chin RL., et al. Peripheral neuropathy and celiac disease. Curr Treat Options Neurol (2005): 7(1):43-48.

Collins P., et al. Infertility and Coeliac Disease. Gut (1996): 39(3): 382-384.

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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