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JGH Open. 2019 Jan 8;3(3):242-248. doi: 10.1002/jgh3.12134. eCollection 2019 Jun.

Fatigue in celiac disease: A review of the literature.

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Department of Internal Medicine Stavanger University Hospital Stavanger Norway.
Department of Clinical Science University of Bergen Bergen Norway.


Fatigue is increasingly recognized as a significant problem in patients with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In celiac disease, a chronic immune-mediated disease triggered by dietary gluten, conflicting opinions exist regarding both the size of the problem and the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD) on fatigue. We reviewed the existing literature regarding fatigue in celiac disease. We conducted a systematic search in the Embase, Ovid Medline, and Cochrane databases using subject terms from controlled vocabularies. Articles were reviewed based on language, type of article, title, and abstract or full text. Eighteen articles were finally selected for review. Fatigue was significantly greater in patients with celiac disease compared to healthy control subjects. Fatigue prevalence ranged from 8 to 100%. Fatigue severity was assessed in six studies. The fatigue visual analogue scale was the most frequently used fatigue instrument with scores from 57 to 79 prior to starting a GFD and from 39 to 59 in patients on a GFD. Seven studies investigated the effect of a GFD on fatigue, including five studies that reported less fatigue while on the diet and two studies that showed no significant difference. This review concludes that fatigue is a substantial complaint in patients with celiac disease. A GFD seems to reduce fatigue, but existing data are limited.


celiac disease; fatigue; gastroenterology; gluten‐free diet

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