This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.
Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts
What are the major symptoms of celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Symptoms
What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic)
Celiac Disease Screening
Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results
Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free?
How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?
The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free
Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested?
Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing
Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases?
Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders
Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid?
Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
Is there a list of gluten free foods?
Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)
Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages
Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?
Where does gluten hide?
Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet
Where can I buy gluten-free stuff?
Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.
Would you mind sharing what sort of (non-gastrointestinal) symptoms you typically experience when you're exposed to gluten? I'd simply be curious to know which of my own symptoms might be related to the ingestion of gluten.
Yes, I guess that's the most important detail... If our health improves when we are gluten-free, it doesn't really matter what the medical profession tells us. The proof is in the pudding!
Thanks again, guys!
Thanks for your replies.
Next month I have a follow-up appointment with this GI specialist. I'll be sure to ask him many questions. Maybe he used the term "stomach" in a colloquial fashion (like "tummy"). Until I get more information, I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes I wonder if these physicians consider themselves too busy to keep abreast of topical medical literature. Although this is not a legitimate excuse, it might characterize their own perspectives.
Curiously, the constant cramping in my left side simply vanished while I was fasting for approx. 36 hours prior to the endoscopy. The postoperative consumption of a bowl of cereal and light soup seemed to bring this symptom back in full force. As suggested, I guess I'll simply have to go gluten-free and see what happens.
Thanks again... This discussion forum is a real blessing to me!
Well, today I had my endoscopy procedure done at the local hospital. Unfortunately, the gastroenterologist only took three (3) biopsy samples from my stomach (none from the small intestines). This physician looked to be under 40 years-old. So, he should be well-acquainted with the recent medical literature pertaining to celiac disease. Of course, I had deliberately been eating gluten for six weeks prior to this medical procedure. It will be awhile before I know the lab results of the biopsies.
Question #1: Are biopsy samples of the stomach also a reliable indicator of celiac disease?
Before I was anesthetized today, the gastroenterologist made a few disconcerting remarks while we were chatting. For example, he maintained that diarrhea must be present in every instance of celiac disease when gluten is being consumed. As well, he claimed there exist NO blood tests which mean anything in regard to celiac disease - due to the fact that false positive results are exceedingly common. Finally, he mentioned that it is unlikely that I have celiac disease since this condition is quite rare. All this being said, this was our first encounter. Prior to today, I had never met this gastroenterologist before. It was my family physician who requested the blood-work and made the referral. Although it is - of course - possible that I don't have celiac disease, my reading seems to be irreconcilable with the details mentioned by this physician.
Question #2: Is this physician correct? Am I mistaken?
Certainly my symptoms have become far more pronounced since I started a full gluten-inclusive diet, almost three weeks ago, in preparation for my upcoming endoscopy. That being said, at no point in my life have I been "entirely" gluten-free. Already I'm looking forward to going gluten-free... based on what I'm experiencing now.
A diagnosis of celiac disease would certainly explain a lot. For example, my blood work always exhibits anemia (decreased number of red blood cells). No physician has ever explained this anomaly, and I have (barring possible gluten issues) no diagnosable health problems.
Thanks for the helpful clarifications, Skylark!
My recent IgA test was negative and my IgG test was positive (44 KEU/L), with any value exceeding 20 KEU/L apparently being flagged as abnormal.
That being said, I was essentially on a gluten-free (or minimal gluten) diet at the time of this blood test. Now I'm well over two weeks into eating a gluten-inclusive diet (as requested by my gastroenterologist), and my endoscopy is scheduled for mid-October. Apart from gastrointestinal problems, insomnia has become a huge problem. If I eat a sandwich, for example, I also have to lay down for awhile due to the pronounced mental and physical fatigue. There are a host of other noticeable problems as well... including elevated anxiety levels.
So, I am relieved to know that if my upcoming endoscopy establishes that the villi in my small intestines exhibit characteristic gluten related antibody damage, this per se is enough to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease. In other words, I won't have to undergo a second endoscopy (at a later date) after having eliminated gluten from my diet - to confirm that the villi have since rejuvenated. One endoscopy is sufficient to establish a diagnosis. Is my understanding correct?
Wow! Many thanks for the informative and helpful comments.
Question: If it is known to often require several months of a gluten-free diet before any noticeable health improvements are realized, how can an elimination and challenge diet involving some other (non-gluten) food yield any diagnostic results after a mere few weeks?
A few years ago I had a hair mineral analysis conducted by a reputable Canadian-based lab. Although I fully realize that even hair mineral analysis has dubious predictive validity (i.e., mineral concentrations in hair samples might not be indicative of body tissue mineral concentrations), nonetheless, the results were astounding. For almost every recorded mineral concentration, I was at least two standard deviations below the mean. Considered by itself, I probably wouldn't ascribe too much credibility to these lab results, but when the larger picture is taken into consideration, I have little doubt that I'm contending with chronic malabsorption - despite eating large amounts of assorted and nutritious foods.
I'd be curious to know if others have had a hair mineral analysis lab work conducted at some point. If so, in hindsight, do you believe the results to be indicative of your overall nutritional status and capacity to absorb nutrients from your food?
Can I assume that most gliadin-based blood tests are not really specific to gluten-intolerance? Could the antibodies be elevated due to other food intolerances?
Likewise, I'm scheduled to have an endoscopy next month. Hypothetically, if the villi in my duodenum are denuded, damaged, or exhibit significant atrophy, can I be reasonably certain that gluten is the main culprit? Or, is the only ironclad "acid test" a postoperative elimination & challenge food regime?
Thanks in advance for any responses...
This is my first post on the Celiac.com Forum. A few weeks ago my lab results (blood work) tested positive for Celiac Disease (or gluten-intolerance). My gastroenterologist has since scheduled me in mid-October to have an endoscopy for the purpose of taking a biopsy of the villi in my small intestines. Of course, I've been contending with many typical (and a some atypical) symptoms of celiac disease for many years.
I've been told that many people with Celiac disease also have intolerances to other foods as well.
Question: Are there any food-intolerance tests which are scientifically proven to be reliable?
It seems everything I read on the Internet suggests that the reliability of most food-intolerance tests is not very good. Incidentally, I live in Ontario, Canada. I'd be looking for some testing procedure which would be available locally.