Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare.org. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
The exact cause of celiac disease isn't known. But having certain genes increases your risk. You are more likely to have these genes if you have a first-degree relative who has celiac disease. A first-degree relative is a mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter.
Environmental factors, such as infections, may trigger changes in the small intestine of a person with these genes. Eating foods that contain gluten can then trigger an abnormal immune system response. Over time, this response can cause problems with digestion and absorbing nutrients.