Celiac sprue results in a permanent intolerance to gluten, which is the structural protein component of wheat, barley, and rye. Its symptoms are continuous diarrhea, cramping abdominal pain, weight loss, and anemia. A doctor must be seen to diagnose celiac disease. Diagnosis may include symptoms, blood antigen testing and possibly an intestinal biopsy. The doctor may have tried your husband on a strict gluten-free nutrition therapy to see if his symptoms improved. Improvement of symptoms occurs within days and the mucous lining in the intestines may revert completely to normal within 6 to 9 months of a celiac nutrition therapy. A person with celiac disease should remain on a gluten-free meal plan for life.
A lot of foods contain gluten and some are not obvious. Bread, cake and baking mixes, pie crusts, gravy and seasoning mixes, pancakes, waffles, canned chili and soups, canned entrees and packaged rice mixes all contain some gluten. Even small amounts of regular flour such as the flour used to bread meat or fish could cause diarrhea. A person with celiac disease must carefully read all labels and look for hidden sources of gluten.