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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      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 Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Feedback, I Am Confused With Doctors Diagnosis
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ok so I was diagnosed with celiacs a little bit before Christmas. I tested positive for two things in a blood test. the doctor orderd me a biopsy to check that I had celiacs. I had the biopsy done mid febuary and tested negative. heres the thing, I was never told to eat gluten before the biopsy to make sure the celiacs could be seen, which is why the doctor thinks I may have celiacs regardless. but since being diagnosed I have had many incedences where I have mistakenly ate gluten. I had been eating rice crispies since the diagnosis and didn't realize they weren't gluten free untill during the super bowl on febuary 3rd. then I stopped eating them. I also had ate some cookies that I thought were gluten free that my mom made but they were in fact just regular cookies. also my cafeteria had served my the wrong food sometimes, for example I have a special breaded chicken that is gluten free, once they mixed up my breaded chicken and gave me real "breaded chicken" gluten and all and I took a bite and chewed and spit it out after I saw the chicken in the sandwitch. and tonight I just realized for the last month I have been eating wild harvest organic cookies that my mother thought were gluten free ( they were on the shelf labed organic next to the gluten free shelf and costed less than the glutino brand...) so I stopped eating those tonight. I just turned 18 years old.

 

My question is, with all the mistakenly eaton gluten and with the negative biopsy for celiacs, when in fact I believe I had been eating gluten, is it possible that I don't have celiacs? I mean in 4 months can a small intestine heal so good that you test negative for celiacs in a biopsy even when u have been eating gluten? I am also about to have a test for chrones disease done to...

 

ps. sorry for the spelling and stuff, I had to rewrite this whole thing because the page froze...

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Corey,

 

It is my understanding that if the biopsy is not from the right location it will show up as negative.  Ask your Mom to ask the Dr. to do a DNA test for celiac, this is much more accurate.

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I've heard many stories about negative biopsies after positive test results. It seems to be fairly well accepted that in those circumstances what has probably happened is that the doctors missed patchy intestinal damage. There is a LOT of surface area in the intestines and I'm surprised they don't miss the damage areas more often.

 

Good luck with your Crohn's testing. I hope you are okay.

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Sometimes the biopsy results depend upon luck in selecting the right spot(s).  Damage is not visible to the naked eye unless it is far advanced.  Also, the GI needs to take a sufficient number of samples - 6 is usually recommended - to give a greater chance of hitting the right spot.  Which of your blood tests were positive?    Some are more specific for celiac than others.

 

Regardless, if gluten is a problem for you, you should eat gluten free anyway.  Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is finally being recognized by the medical community as a disese in its own right.  So don't let the negative biopsy sway you away from eating gluten free.  Some of us just have to do it regardless.  Research has only just really got under way to explore the ramifications of non-celiac gluten sensitivity and to attempt to develop a test for it.

 

To address your specific question, could you still be celiac with positive blood work and a negative biopsy while you were still unknowingly ingesting some gluten?  When we first start the diet, we are never perfect.  There are always things we discover to have gluten that we were unaware of, for some of us more than for others.  While it is true that you must be 100% gluten free if you expect to heal from celiac damage, some healing can nevertheless take place with random gluten exposure.  But I think the chances are that it was missed or not enough samples taken.  If you were positive on only one blood test, maybe questionable... positive on two (depending on which ones) not likely.

 

Let us know how your testing for Crohn's goes. :)

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    • Will my doctor test me? So many symptoms...
      Yep, get tested for celiac.  You have plenty of digestive symptoms to indicate it.
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie, It definitely sounds like you got glutened.  Over here in the USA they can't label foods gluten-free if they are made from gluten ingredients, period.  So your barley drink would not be labeled gluten-free here.  A while back I read something about the testing for gluten in foods not being as accurate for detecting barley hordein as it is for wheat gliaden.  So the gluten-free testing (if they do any) that your drink maker does may not be reliable. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition.  So the immune system starts reacting when it detects gluten and damages the gut lining.  An immune reaction is not like a food poisoning event, where most of the damage is only while the food is actually in your system and then ends.  An immune reaction can continue for weeks to months.  The immune system is really quite serious about protecting our bodies.  And since it is designed to detect and attack micro-organisms it reacts to tiny amounts of gluten. Wheat, barley, and rye are the main gluten grains that affect celiacs.  But some celiacs also react to oat gluten.  
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie,  Glad you are feeling better. I wondered have you been officially diagnosed with coeliac disease? Just wondering as you say you are anaemic, that is one of the symptoms of coeliac disease, along with other general malnutrition. You don't need to eat meat for iron though, you can get it from non-heme foods, like spinach or parsley. Just be careful with the drink with barley, it may be that you only start to have symptoms if you consume a lot of it, but if you have coeliac disease the damage is still been done to your gut regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, which will ultimately lead to malnutrition as well as other things.
    • Weird Reaction
      I think, if all this is caused by glutening, it could be that it takes a while to work its way out of your system. I should explain about what I said about organic broccoli.   I don't have a problem with organic food,  in fact, I buy organic milk and carrots all the time, but I don't want to try organic broccoli in case it is the broccoli that is the problem, not the insecticide.    I meant to ask, are you a coeliac or is it non-coeliac gluten intolerance that you have?   I wonder what sort of support you get in Australia for these conditions once diagnosed?   Here in the UK I think the understanding is that if new gastro symptoms have lasted for more than six weeks it needs to be investigated.   I have found this very helpful advice because I do get odd twinges of pain and sometimes changes in bowel movements (sorry if tmi) but they rarely last more than a couple of weeks.   If they do persist I mention it to my gastroenteroligist and he follows it up.  I recently had a sigmoidoscopy for left sided pain and they found nothing.  Turns out it was to do with lactose intolerance, but I always imagine the worse!    
    • Will my doctor test me? So many symptoms...
      Welcome, @iwillmoveamountain! Of course you are not wrong to pursue getting testing for celiac. My advice is to drop that doctor and find a new one, preferably one who is celiac savvy, and who will listen to you and test you for the disease.  
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