abdominal pain

Celiac Disease & Why No One Should Have Belly Pain EP071

Approximately 50% of ER visits are associated with abdominal pain, and the vast majority of those patients are given a diagnosis of ‘abdominal pain of an unknown origin’ and directed to come back if the condition gets worse. This is little comfort to people suffering from severe discomfort who need answers around the cause of their belly pain, not just medication to mask it temporarily. Could undiagnosed celiac disease be the source of their suffering?

Today, the Gluten Free RN is diving into the issue of belly pain and undiagnosed celiac disease, discussing the expensive testing often conducted to determine the cause of abdominal discomfort—testing that rarely includes a celiac panel. She covers several of the common misdiagnoses of celiac patients as well as the incredibly high prevalence of abdominal pain in children.

Nadine shares the case study of a child-patient who was misdiagnosed with appendicitis and the research published in Digestive and Liver Disease outlining the unnecessary surgical interventions endured by undiagnosed celiac patients. Listen in for the Gluten Free RN’s advice to patients with idiopathic abdominal discomfort and learn why no one should suffer from belly pain!

What’s Discussed:

The statistics around ER visits and abdominal pain

  • 50% of visits associated with belly pain

The most common abdominal pain diagnoses

  • Abdominal pain of unknown ideology, idiopathic abdominal pain

How patients are treated for idiopathic abdominal pain

  • Medication, directive to return if condition gets worse

The testing to find the cause of chronic abdominal pain

  • Expensive blood workups, rarely include celiac panel

How many children suffer from belly pain

  • 30% report abdominal discomfort

Nadine’s patient who received a misdiagnosis of appendicitis

  • Mother of child-patient sought second opinion prior to surgery
  • Child didn’t have appendicitis, cause of pain still unknown

A research study around abdominal surgery and celiac disease

  • Patients with celiac disease at increased risk of abdominal surgery
  • Misdiagnosis leads to inappropriate interventions (i.e.: appendectomy)

Nadine’s advice for patients diagnosed with idiopathic abdominal pain

  • Initiate clinical trail of gluten-free or Paleo diet


‘Increased Rate of Abdominal Surgery Both Before and After Diagnosis of Celiac Disease’ in Digestive and Liver Disease

‘Screening for Celiac Disease in Children with Recurrent Abdominal Pain’ in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

‘Effect of a Gluten-Free Diet on Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Celiac Disease’ in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

‘Clinical Features and Symptom Recovery on a Gluten-Free Diet in Canadian Adults with Celiac Disease’ in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology

‘Association of Adult Celiac Disease with Surgical Abdominal Pain’ in Annals of Surgery

‘A New Insight into Non-Specific Abdominal Pain’ in The Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England

Connect with Nadine:



Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Heal

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