Celiac ups depression risk for women

Dec. 28, 2011 at 11:13 PM
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Women with celiac disease, a disorder linked to a reaction to eating gluten, have an elevated depression risk even on a gluten-free diet, U.S. researchers say.

Josh Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health and medicine at Pennsylvania State University, and colleagues at Syracuse University and Drexel University used a Web-mediated survey to assess a range of physical, behavioral and emotional experiences in 177 U.S. adult women, who reported a physician-provided diagnosis of celiac disease.

The survey questions explored respondents' levels of adherence to a gluten-free diet and assessed various symptoms of celiac disease, physical symptoms, the respondents' experience and management of stressful situations, symptoms of clinical depression and frequency of thoughts and behaviors associated with eating and body image.

It is understandable to find that women with celiac disease tend to suffer from disordered eating, given that the focus of celiac-disease management is to pay careful attention to what and how one eats, Smyth said.

"What we don't know is what leads to what and under what circumstances," Smyth said. "It's likely that the disease, stress, weight, shape and eating issues, and depression are interconnected."

People with celiac disease often suffer from abdominal pain, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It is typically controlled by avoiding gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley and rye.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the journal of Chronic Illness.

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