Bonnie Lynn Mechanic Celiac Disease Clinic

Bonnie Lynn Mechanic Celiac Disease Clinic specialists treat children with celiac disease. The clinic is led by Grzegorz W. Telega, MD, a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist. Other team members include a pediatric gastroenterologist, nurse and dietitian.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is permanent condition in which the small intestine is damaged as a result of exposure to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

The small intestine is lined with tiny fingerlike projections, called villi that help digest and absorb nutrients from food. Health experts believe gluten triggers an immune reaction, which causes damage to the small intestine and villi and interferes with the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.

What are the symptoms?

Children with celiac disease may experience one or more of the following:

  • Diarrhea with failure to thrive
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Enlarged abdomen

Diagnosing celiac disease

Experts test children for celiac disease with a simple blood test in which antibodies to gluten are measured. (Screening only can be done if the child is currently eating foods that contain gluten, like most breads, crackers, noodles and pasta.) An additional test called an endoscopy may be needed to make a final diagnosis of celiac disease. An endoscopy is a procedure done by a gastroenterologist. Tiny tissue samples are taken from the small intestine. A pathologist then examines these tissue samples under a microscope and reports back to the gastroenterologist.

How is celiac disease treated?

The treatment for celiac disease is a strict, lifelong, gluten-free diet. After a diagnosis of celiac disease, the next step is referral to a dietitian who is knowledgeable about gluten-free diets.