What is Sprue?

Sprue is a name given to a disorder where nutrients are unable to be absorbed and results in weight loss, diarrhea and can lead to emaciation and death. In this article we’ll talk about celiac sprue and how it’s different from other forms of sprue, give an overview of symptoms and the diet that is typically recommended for treatment. Sprue is the most serious of all gluten intolerance disorders and should not be taken lightly.

What is Celiac Sprue?
There are two forms of sprue – tropical and celiac. Tropical sprue is an infection that can be either viral or bacterial. While tropical sprue and Celiac sprue can have similar symptoms their causes and treatments differ greatly. In this article we will focus on Celiac sprue which is caused by a body’s reaction to certain proteins called gluten that are found in wheat, rye and barley. Both forms of sprue cause nutrient malabsorption and cause weight loss and can even lead to death.

Celiac Sprue Symptoms
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the person. However, here is a list of the more common symptoms. Remember that not everyone has all the symptoms and some people do not present any symptoms at all.

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or emaciation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • A severe, itchy rash
  • High liver levels in blood tests
  • Stunted growth or developmental delays in children

Celiac Sprue Diet
The only known way to treat celiac sprue is to follow a very careful gluten free diet. You may be wondering, what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in certain cereal grains like wheat, rye and barley. At first it may seem that there is gluten in everything. And it is true that gluten can be found in a wide variety of products, particularly breads and baked goods. However, when you start to think about all the food available, you will begin to realize how much food does not contain gluten. All fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, oils and dairy do not contain gluten. There is also a huge assortment of gluten free food available as well as gluten free flour if you like to do your own baking.

Celiac sprue materially impacts the ability to absorb nutrients. When a body does not receive the nutrition it needs a host of illnesses and complications can arise. From anemia to diabetes – celiac sprue is thought to contribute to a wide variety of diseases and can itself lead to malnutrition and can even be life threatening. If you’re concerned about celiac sprue, be sure to consult your physician who can provide a diagnosis and create a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.