House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Statements by Members

Coeliac Disease

3:16 pm

Photo of Alicia PayneAlicia Payne (Canberra, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Coeliac Awareness Week is 13 to 20 March. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats—so many of our staple foods—and causes damage to the small intestine. The only treatment for coeliac disease is to eat a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. Around one in 70 Australians have coeliac disease, yet it remains significantly underdiagnosed, with around 80 per cent of coeliacs not being diagnosed. Common symptoms of coeliac disease are abdominal pain, bloating or nausea. But this year Coeliac Australia is encouraging people to look beyond the gut and think about the other symptoms of coeliac disease that do not necessarily impact their digestive system. Things like brain fog, tiredness, fertility issues, hair loss or skin rashes could all be symptoms of coeliac disease. If left untreated it can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, mental health issues or cancer. For Australians living with coeliac disease, it is a limiting disease. They face stress about eating food prepared by others, potential effects of accidentally consuming gluten and a lack of available safe food options. This is a serious illness, and I encourage anyone with any of these symptoms to talk to their GP.


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