Just as the range of symptoms varies for each individual who has celiac disease, the time it takes to heal after going on a gluten-free diet will also vary. But there are two aspects of healing on this diet to consider. Perceived healing is different from actual healing. Those who have suffered from mysterious symptoms for most of their life may recognize a dramatic improvement in well-being once they begin to eliminate gluten from their diet. Many report that their recovery happens rather quickly. This perceived feeling of immediate recovery may be real, but naturally the small intestine will take longer to recover. The speed of the healing depends on the damage done, as well as the severity of possible complications that need attention, such as poor bone density or anemia due to the prolonged malabsorption of nutrients. However, since gluten causes inflammation to the small intestine, the removal of gluten will enable the small intestine to recover to normal functioning quickly, often within weeks.
Others will not respond to the diet as quickly. For those who have celiac disease, but who do not necessarily feel ill when ingesting gluten, their sense of perceived healing may not be all that significant even when the small intestine begins to recover. Not feeling the healing can be frustrating and a detriment to remaining vigilant on the diet, because there seem to be no immediate awards. However, it’s important to stick with the diet because, even if you don’t feel the healing it is taking place.