The delay in diagnosis of 106 patients with adult coeliac disease, diagnosed between 1976 and 1980, was studied. Overall, delay in diagnosis was 11 +/- 10.6 years, being considerably greater in females (12.8 +/- 7.8 years) than in males (3.5 +/- 9.8 years). Most of this delay occurred prior to hospital referral, although that following referral to hospital clinics was still significant (1.8 +/- 4.8 years). The most common presenting complaints were lassitude (75%) anaemia (65%) and flatulence (50%). Typical gastro-intestinal symptoms were relatively uncommon and mild, but when present led to a more speedy diagnosis. It is concluded that, despite advances in modern diagnostic procedures, little progress has been made in hastening the diagnosis of coeliac disease.