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lifestyle and diet changes key for coeliacs

Coeliac disease is a condition which causes some adults and children to react to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.

It affects 1 in 100 people, or close to 1pc of the population. This means that almost 45,000 people could be coeliac, with many as yet undiagnosed.

It has a great impact on both health and lifestyle. Firstly, as a coeliac, you may experience one or more symptoms before diagnosis. These can vary from bloating, diarrhoea and constipation to stomach pain, mouth ulcers, tiredness, indigestion, bone pain, moodiness or even depression.

Feeling unwell, with no apparent cause can be debilitating – often coeliacs are thought to be hypochondriacs or can be misdiagnosed with IBS before coeliac disease is discovered.

Once diagnosed, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment – our medicine.

Gluten crops up in many processed foods and cross-contamination can be a problem. Not sticking to the diet can lead to a risk of bowel cancer, osteoporosis and infertility.

The Coeliac Society of Ireland was set up in 1970, and is still the most reliable source of information on coeliac living, providing help to some 6,000 plus members daily.


We have seen great improvement in awareness of coeliacs and better provision of gluten-free foods.

We are constantly working with national bodies, the hospitality industry, food manufacturers and the health profession on behalf of coeliacs.

The society produces an annual booklet, called the Food List, which is known by our members as our bible, as it's invaluable.

We also have cookery books, eating out cards, information leaflets, and leaflets for children and are constantly trying to make it easier for our members to enjoy normal lives.

One of the things we aim to do this year is to provide an information leaflet to the staff of crèches and pre-schools.

We are hoping to get 50 entrants to take part in this year's Flora Women's Mini Marathon.

If every entrant could raise €100, we can raise enough to design, print and supply it to childcare providers, which is essential if you have a child with coeliac disease.

Emma Clarke Conway, Communications Manager for The Coeliac Society of Ireland www.coeliac.ie