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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.

Any Self-Diagnosed Catholics?
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19 posts in this topic

Hello all,

I'm new but have been lurking. Quick back-story: I have been trying to figure out what's wrong with me for nearly a decade, since my teens. I have daily digestive issues, bloating, etc, with periodic bouts of unexplained stomach cramps and vomiting. (On one occasion these landed me in the ER - they kept me there for hours, ran tests and told me I was fine.) Constant fatigue for years, hypoglycemia (self-diagnosed, but it's really obvious), bouts of extreme starvation-style hunger that will not go away for days no matter how much I eat, depression, the list goes on ...

I'm tired of being misdiagnosed, humiliated, laughed at, and dismissed as a hypochondriac by my doctors (and then, being charged a lot of money for the misery). So I have just started a gluten free diet, without an official diagnosis. It's too early to see if there's a difference.

The biggest issue for me right now is that I'm Catholic (a daily communicant) and sooner or later will have to deal with what to do about Communion. I don't want to start a debate about it. I just want to know ... should I stop receiving Communion for a while and see how that affects me? Should I keep receiving and see if it becomes a problem as I eliminate the other gluten from my diet? Also, will it be a problem if I don't have an official diagnosis ... i.e. will priests be unable or unwilling to accommodate me with an alternative form of Communion?

Please help!

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Call or email the priest. He will tell you they have a low gluten host or you can just take the wine. He may even be able to give you the wine first or from a special cup. Some will do that. You don't have to say self diagnosed. Just say you can't have gluten if that is true.

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You can buy gluten free communion crackers online ask the priest to give you those instead. People deal with it all the time celiac is very popular in Italy and I am sure you know they have a bunch of catholics

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You can buy gluten free communion crackers online ask the priest to give you those instead. People deal with it all the time celiac is very popular in Italy and I am sure you know they have a bunch of catholics

My church now gives out a 0.0001 percent gluten host, for people who need to be gluten free, its only given at one mass and only in one line, but they are doing so because so many people in the parish have been diagnosed with celiac/gluten allergy.

I would ask, they may have several people asking and may need to do something if they haven't already.

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You don't have to say self diagnosed. Just say you can't have gluten if that is true.

Yeah, I was worried he might ask to see a doctor's note or something. I guess that's kind of far-fetched. Especially since my pastor had no problem dispensing me from the Ash Wednesday/Good Friday fast when I told him I was hypoglycemic.

I don't want to say anything about it though until I'm sure that that is what is going on, so in the meantime what should I do? :(

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Yeah, I was worried he might ask to see a doctor's note or something. I guess that's kind of far-fetched. Especially since my pastor had no problem dispensing me from the Ash Wednesday/Good Friday fast when I told him I was hypoglycemic.

I don't want to say anything about it though until I'm sure that that is what is going on, so in the meantime what should I do? :(

It still counts as fully receiving Communion if you take the Precious Blood alone. Usually, this is what I do because while my parish has the Vatican-approved gluten-free wafers, I have to arrange it before mass and I usually forget to.

It's not so far-fetched about the doctor's note, really :) I looked it up when I was trying to figure out what to do, and I believe that they actually used to require one as proof before allowing a substitute wafer.

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It still counts as fully receiving Communion if you take the Precious Blood alone. Usually, this is what I do because while my parish has the Vatican-approved gluten-free wafers, I have to arrange it before mass and I usually forget to.

None of the parishes where I live offer the chalice to the laity, so I will have to arrange it specially.

It's not so far-fetched about the doctor's note, really :) I looked it up when I was trying to figure out what to do, and I believe that they actually used to require one as proof before allowing a substitute wafer.

But they don't require it now? What about people who test negative for celiac but still discover that they have a bad reaction to gluten? (This is the case with my sister.)

It's so frustrating ... the medical establishment causes as much suffering as it alleviates (based on my experience; there are good doctors, but they are few), and yet no one will believe what you know about your own body without a doctor's official stamp of approval. In the past I have self-diagnosed myself with other things and asked for certain tests, had my doctor snicker a bit and order the test, only to find that I was right! But of course no one ever apologizes for misdiagnosing you or for laughing at your correct self-diagnosis ...

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None of the parishes where I live offer the chalice to the laity, so I will have to arrange it specially.

But they don't require it now? What about people who test negative for celiac but still discover that they have a bad reaction to gluten? (This is the case with my sister.)

It's so frustrating ... the medical establishment causes as much suffering as it alleviates (based on my experience; there are good doctors, but they are few), and yet no one will believe what you know about your own body without a doctor's official stamp of approval. In the past I have self-diagnosed myself with other things and asked for certain tests, had my doctor snicker a bit and order the test, only to find that I was right! But of course no one ever apologizes for misdiagnosing you or for laughing at your correct self-diagnosis ...

I emailed my priest. He didn't need a doctor note. The Catholic church only allows the very low gluten host. Some other religions might allow completely rice ones.

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Are there any other coeliacs in the nearby parishes you speak of? How do they handle it?

I know that it is a special grace to receive on a daily basis, but if you really want to diagnose coeliac, you can't or that daily dosage of gluten will skew the results.

I'm Eastern Orthodox and weep to say I haven't taken communion in four weeks or more (we only receive weekly) because I can't bear to talk to the priest about it yet. It hurts too much right now. I used to be okay with just a few drops of the precious blood from the spoon, but that spoon is in the chalice with the host (we do intinction only) and it seems like I have grown too sensitive for that.

Do you have a regular confessor? Perhaps you can explain to him exactly how things are? Mention that a vast majority of coeliacs have to self-diagnose with diet because the available tests are unreliable (false negatives) and incomplete (cannot diagnose certain types of gluten intolerance that are, nevertheless, real). Explain to him exactly what your concerns are, in detail. The Catholic Church has approved the low-gluten host, so there should be no problem with using those. If you receive daily you can even break the hosts into smaller pieces to receive less at any given time (altho if you do end up being very sensitive, you may have to settle on half of one once a week or something like that).

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Any Self-Diagnosed Catholics?

I smiled when I saw the topic title, thinking don't tell me Catholicism is now classed as an illness!! :blink:

I know what was meant, it was just the way it read.

I'm a Catholic and Celiac with an additional Wheat allergy so the wheat starch hosts were a no-no.

Plus the fact I was a heavy drinker (Alcoholic) and I am afraid to even sip wine for fear I'd revert to my wicked former ways, so I totally abstain.

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I second everyone else about talking to your priest. I'm not Catholic, so I'm not sure about the low gluten vs. no gluten host. But when I talked to my Methodist pastor about using no gluten host, he was very sympathetic and had no problems with it. And he didn't require any proof that I had Celiac. In fact, 3 other people in the church were already using gluten-free host, and I know for a fact that two of them have not had a formal Celiac diagnosis. And keep in mind that this is a church of only about 80 attendees. There already may be people using low gluten host in your church and you may not be aware of it. My pastor is super discreet about handing them out.

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Any Self-Diagnosed Catholics?

I smiled when I saw the topic title, thinking don't tell me Catholicism is now classed as an illness!! :blink:

LOL! With the way things seem to be headed, you never know ...

I'm sorry you have to abstain completely! I know how painful that would be for me. But I am certain God is blessing you through other means.

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Are there any other coeliacs in the nearby parishes you speak of? How do they handle it?

I know that it is a special grace to receive on a daily basis, but if you really want to diagnose coeliac, you can't or that daily dosage of gluten will skew the results.

I'm Eastern Orthodox and weep to say I haven't taken communion in four weeks or more (we only receive weekly) because I can't bear to talk to the priest about it yet. It hurts too much right now. I used to be okay with just a few drops of the precious blood from the spoon, but that spoon is in the chalice with the host (we do intinction only) and it seems like I have grown too sensitive for that.

Do you have a regular confessor? Perhaps you can explain to him exactly how things are? Mention that a vast majority of coeliacs have to self-diagnose with diet because the available tests are unreliable (false negatives) and incomplete (cannot diagnose certain types of gluten intolerance that are, nevertheless, real). Explain to him exactly what your concerns are, in detail. The Catholic Church has approved the low-gluten host, so there should be no problem with using those. If you receive daily you can even break the hosts into smaller pieces to receive less at any given time (altho if you do end up being very sensitive, you may have to settle on half of one once a week or something like that).

I have no idea if there are other celiacs. I haven't noticed anything obvious. I'm coming to the conclusion that I will have to abstain for a while to see what is really going on.

I feel your pain. :( Wish I could give you a hug.

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Any Self-Diagnosed Catholics?

I smiled when I saw the topic title, thinking don't tell me Catholicism is now classed as an illness!! :blink:

I know what was meant, it was just the way it read.

I'm a Catholic and Celiac with an additional Wheat allergy so the wheat starch hosts were a no-no.

Plus the fact I was a heavy drinker (Alcoholic) and I am afraid to even sip wine for fear I'd revert to my wicked former ways, so I totally abstain.

To be honest, this kind of thing shakes my faith considerably.

How do you feel about this? You seem to be taking it a lot better than I would.

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To be honest, this kind of thing shakes my faith considerably.

How do you feel about this? You seem to be taking it a lot better than I would.

I don't want to go on about one religion - V - another.

I don't believe that receiving the host/wine at mass makes you a good catholic.

Abiding by the teachings of your church (and he's the important bit) to the best of your ability, makes you a good catholic/christian etc.

There are catholics suffering with throat cancer that can't partake in communion, (they may be fed intravenously) they are not bad catholics.

All god asks is that you do the best you can!

Sorry moderators, didn't mean to turn it into a topic on religion.

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None of the parishes where I live offer the chalice to the laity, so I will have to arrange it specially.

But they don't require it now? What about people who test negative for celiac but still discover that they have a bad reaction to gluten? (This is the case with my sister.)

It's so frustrating ... the medical establishment causes as much suffering as it alleviates (based on my experience; there are good doctors, but they are few), and yet no one will believe what you know about your own body without a doctor's official stamp of approval. In the past I have self-diagnosed myself with other things and asked for certain tests, had my doctor snicker a bit and order the test, only to find that I was right! But of course no one ever apologizes for misdiagnosing you or for laughing at your correct self-diagnosis ...

No, it is my understanding that they do not require it now. The only thing I have read is that the host must contain some minute amount of gluten in order to be considered bread and thus, a valid sacrament. I believe all you need to do is speak with the priest. In some cases, a bishop might need to give permission, but in most instances, the parish priest is able to. My church is much more relaxed in the matter, but I suppose some stricter parishes may be different.

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I don't want to go on about one religion - V - another.

I don't believe that receiving the host/wine at mass makes you a good catholic.

Abiding by the teachings of your church (and he's the important bit) to the best of your ability, makes you a good catholic/christian etc.

There are catholics suffering with throat cancer that can't partake in communion, (they may be fed intravenously) they are not bad catholics.

All god asks is that you do the best you can!

Sorry moderators, didn't mean to turn it into a topic on religion.

Well, I appreciate your reply, so thank you.

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I didn't want to turn it into a topic on religion either, but this is something I am struggling with right now in my life, so I asked. I think you're right, it's just... hard, that's all.

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I am Catholic, and after I was diagnosed it was actually very easy to sort out.

My church gets has the low-gluten wafers and its no biggie. I just spoke with the ministry coordinator and the priest. When I get to church I get the wafer from its place in the fridge in the main office, place it in its own plate and hand it off to the ministry coordinator. he makes sure its makes its way up to the altar during the mass. When the Eucharistic ministers go up to get communion ready I go up and stand with them, but just to the side. They bring me the gluten-free wafer and give me the first drink from one of the cups. Done and done. I was told that this is the way that the Vatican officially decreed to take care of communion for people who cannot have gluten (and the Vatican thinks of everything) so even if your priest is unaware of the protocol, protocol exists for this exact issue.

So just talk with your priest-- its no big deal.

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