If you answered “no”, you certainly know someone who is affected by it - or maybe you are one of the 80% of people with Coeliac Disease who is undiagnosed. Many people have no idea that both faecal incontinence and urinary incontinence can be linked to Coeliac Disease, and finding a diagnosis can be the start of proper treatment.
Coeliac Awareness Week
Coeliac Awareness Week
Are you one of the 1-in-70 Australians living with Coeliac Disease?
The Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
In people with Coeliac Disease, gluten can cause:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urgency and faecal incontinence
- Anaemia and other mineral or vitamin deficiencies
- Skin rashes
- Mouth ulcers
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Weight loss or gain
- Joint pain
It’s not just eating gluten that is a problem; many people also experience irritation from the gluten in their cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash and even in the glue on envelopes! With so many different symptoms, Coeliac Disease can look different in everyone.
Coeliac Disease and Incontinence
For many people with Coeliac Disease, eating gluten can lead to an increase in urgency. Some people are able to get to a toilet in time, but factors like age, pain and reliance on carers can lead to faecal incontinence. Though potentially embarrassing or upsetting, there is nothing abnormal about this.
Constipation associated with Coeliac Disease can also put pressure on the bladder, leading to urinary incontinence. It could be as little as a leak when sneezing or straining, or more complete incontinence requiring heavier treatment.
Treating Coeliac Disease Related Incontinence
As with any chronic medical condition the first step is to seek diagnosis. Untreated Coeliac Disease can lead to long term systemic inflammation and poor nutrition due to malabsorption. If you suspect you are suffering from any of the symptoms, speak to your doctor or healthcare practitioner. Once diagnosed you’ll be placed on a strict gluten free diet to remove the cause of the disease and allow the intestinal lining to heal. For more information on Coeliac Disease, visit Coeliac Australia for support and information.
While treatment can prevent or reverse many of the associated health conditions, including the pain linked to constipation and easing of pressure on the bladder, for some the associated incontinence will have become habitual and will continue to persist.
To help manage any residual incontinence, a doctor can recommend a treatment plan. We also have a full range of pads for light leakage and pull-up pants to offer discreet incontinence aids for those needing higher absorbency.
1. https://www.coeliac.org.au/ - Coeliac Australia
2. http://theconversation.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-coeliac-disease-and-whether-you-really-have-it-4928 - Tye-din, J. PhD, “Everything you need to know about Coeliac Disease and whether you really have it”
3. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/celiac-disease-managing-fecal-incontinence - Mitchell Wilson, J. “Celiac Disease: Managing Fecal Incontinence”
4. https://www.ic-network.com/pelvic-pain-conditions/celiac-disease-and-ic/ - Celiac, Gluten Intolerence and Interstitial Cystitis
5. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/coeliac-disease-and-gluten-sensitivity - Better Health Victoria - Coeliac Disease