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Think you have Coeliacs - top tips for diagnosis & tests

Think you have Coeliacs or of going gluten free before proper diagnosis?  Here are my top tips to consider before you do so.

  1. If you think you might have Coeliacs, don't give up gluten before the blood test.
  2. Symptoms for Coeliacs vary greatly from one person to the next which is why its so hard to get an early diagnosis.  Check on Coeliacs UK to see if your symptoms fit.  They have an online questionnaire to help work it out.
  3. Get the blood test via your GP.  If they advise you to give up gluten/wheat for 6 weeks to see if you feel better, I personally would push for the blood test there & then whilst you are still eating gluten.  If you cut out gluten/wheat, and you feel better in the next 6 weeks, you are then going to have to reintroduce it to your diet for another 6 weeks at least to get the blood test.
  4. In some cases the blood test is inconclusive, so you need to still have gluten in your diet so that you can have an endoscopy to complete the diagnosis.
  5. Endoscopy - this is known as the gold standard of testing for Coeliacs, so they can confirm by looking at the villi in your intestines.  If the villi are virtually non existent, its a good indicator that you have the disease.  My analogy is think of a cornfield blowing in the wind - that's how I envisage them moving in the intestine lining absorbing nutrients. When damaged, they shrink into the intestine, don't move around & can't absorb nutrients.
It's important to get the testing done & done right before you remove the gluten/wheat items from your diet.  If in doubt, check with Coeliac UK, they are the experts in their field. Do some research before heading to the GP or the health professional you speak with.