Coeliac UK is the national charity for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.

We are urging your readers, in Coeliac UK Awareness Week (May 11-17), to ask “is it coeliac disease?” if they are suffering from any of these symptoms – stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, regular bouts of diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, ongoing fatigue, anaemia, weight loss or constant mouth ulcers.

If that is you, we encourage you to visit and take the Coeliac UK online assessment for coeliac disease symptoms and risk factors.

The assessment provides you with a result that you can take to your GP if the result indicates a need for further investigation into coeliac disease.

When people with coeliac (pronounced see-liac) disease eat gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley and rye – the body attacks and damages the lining of the gut where food is absorbed, making it difficult for the body to get the nutrients it needs.

Gluten is found in many everyday foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, cakes, biscuits and sauces.

A lack of diagnosis means unpleasant symptoms recurring on a frequent basis.

If left untreated, these can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis and in some cases, small bowel cancer.

It is estimated that around half a million people in UK have coeliac disease but remain untreated and undiagnosed. The good news is that coeliac disease is treatable by switching to a strict gluten-free diet for life.

So in this week of awareness and beyond,when you notice these symptoms, be ready to ask yourself “is it coeliac disease?”.

Chief executive
Coeliac UK