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Not Sure If Celiac Or Crohn's - Please Help!

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I am not sure if I have Celiac or Crohn's. I am a 15 year old male, and I weigh 82 lbs and about 5 feet tall. I have noticed symptoms of delayed growth and chronic diarrhea. I was tested for Celiac with a blood panel, but the results returned negative. I am now scheduled to have some type of biopsy to see if I have Crohn's. At this point, I'm hoping I have Celiac. I read about Crohn's, and it made me very nervous and scared. Please help me!!!


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Hi Rusty and welcome to the board.

It is not uncommon to test negative on the celiac bloodwork; there is known to be an error rate in the testing. Did you have the complete panel of tests? Can you tell us what tests were done and what your scores and the ranges were? The most important not to leave out are the total IgA, and also the DGP.

If your doctor is now considering Crohn's as a diagnosis and is doing biopsies, that would be from a colonoscopy checking out the colon, which will not tell you anything about celiac which affects only the small intestine.. For celiac you need to make sure your doctor also does an endoscopy to check the upper intestinal tract, and takes at least 6 biopsy samples to send to the pathologist, because it is possible to be negative on blood work and positive on biopsy.

It is also possible you have non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI) which can cause a lot of the same malabsorption issues as celiac because your food doesn't hang around long enough for you to absorb it. Although celiac does seem more likely if you carry the 'failure to thrive' diagnosis. NCGI can give you practically the same problems as celiac; you just can't pass the test which is geared to measure damage to the lining of the small intestine and which apparently doesn't happen in NCGI.

Anyway, if you would, let us have a look at your test results.

At any rate, you definitely need the upper endoscopy to rule out celiac; a colonoscopy will not do that, although it could potentially rule in Crohn's. For your sake I hope that one is negative too. :)


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Just to add to Shroomie's info - the endoscopy ( upper end) can be done at the same time as the colonoscopy ( lower end). I would think he might like to do that just to make sure you don't have anything like an ulcer & he could biopsy for Celiac, too!


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Hi Rusty,

It should also be less expensive to get the endoscopy and colonoscopy done at the same time. Doing both at once saves another trip to the hospital. For the endoscopy they need to take multiple biopsy samples, 5 to 8 is good. Celiac is treated with the gluten-free diet. There are treatments for Crohn's and some people with Crohn's follow the gluten-free diet. But often some drugs are needed for flares. Flares are usually intermittent though, and can go into remission with drugs or other treatments. People can live a long healthy life with Crohn's with proper treatment.


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    • I found when I went gluten free I started eating more dairy and that gave me worse stomach aches and bloating than the gluten did. So now I have to avoid gluten and dairy.  Maybe you have a similar problem with something you are eating.  I hope you feel better soon.  
    • Hi! I received my "official" celiac diagnosis last week. I had an endoscopy last month that was originally looking for ulcers and h. pylori, but they did some biopsies of my duodenum since they were in the neighborhood and the biopsy came back "consistent with Celiac's disease" and later. They urged me to get my blood checked and follow up with my primary doctor. My blood work came back negative, but my doctor was confident it's Celiac so told me to stay away from gluten. I've been completely gluten free (or to the best of my knowledge) for 2 weeks now, and my results are mixed. At first, I felt great! My stomach was no longer CRAZY bloated once I stopped eating pasta and bread, my acne started healing, and the red rash on the back of my arms started to fade. That was the first few days. Lately, though, my acne is once again flaring up and I've been SO EXHAUSTED. I feel so tired all the time. Even now I have fatigue in my head, limbs, and I could hardly walk or move my body earlier today. I'm overweight and I like to go to the gym, but what used to be an easy workout for me is kicking my ass! I used to go to the gym and tear it up: HIIT on the treadmill followed by 40 minutes of heavy weight lifting. Now I can hardly finish 3 reps in my first set without feeling like a nap. I can't run anymore because my body feels clumsy and heavy. Also, I'm still bloated. I don't suffer from painful, acute bloating, but I struggle to pass gas and I look like I have pregnant belly. I think I'm also retaining water all over my body, and I'm not sure if that's normal? For whatever reason, I have this belief that water is mainly retained in the core and not arms, legs, and face. Anyway, I'd love to hear what you have to say/what you've experienced. Is this typical to first going gluten free?
    • Thanks Stephanie & Gemini for the info. that the 4 of 5 doesn't apply to children. I wasn't aware of that until now. 
    • I think the posters above have given you very good information and I will throw in my 2 cents worth.  I am surprised that they did not test her DGP IgA also.  I am sure that would have been positive.  They switched off with antibody classes and usually they do both tests for both antibodies.  IgA is more specific to Celiac but the IgG is also useful.  The testing shows your daughter is producing antibodies to the gluten in her diet. (DGP IGG). THe tTg shows positive for some damage or inflammation. You know........your daughter is only 4.  She hasn't been on the planet or eating gluten that long. It can take years for enough damage to occur for it to be able to be found on biopsy.  I would say it is highly likely that this is Celiac, especially with her symptoms. But because the damage hasn't graduated to bad enough yet, they won't diagnose her. I think you need to do what others have said and get all copies of testing and find someone else who will take a look and give a diagnosis, especially if they have you do a dietary trial and her symptoms go away.  That might be the only recourse if you want faster proof. I know I would want faster.  I would not really be happy if I thought I had to keep feeding her something that was making her sick.  If you keep her on gluten long enough, the diarrhea will probably show up. BTW.........the criteria mentioned regarding diagnosis does not apply to kids.  I know it's silly and stupid but most leading Celiac specialists do not go by this criteria for kids.......adults only.  Keep that in mind because it might come up.  You could recognize it but they might not. Have you considered gene testing, to help bolster a diagnosis? As far as false positives go, it's the other way around. False negatives happen more frequently than many people think.  It's a recurring theme here.  With her symptoms, which is what I had, a bloated belly and tummy aches are telling.  Have they tested her for lactose intolerance?  That can cause similar symptoms, although it sure won't raise those 2 blood tests.  Keep looking for Celiac because there are many red flags here.
    • This 4 out of 5 criteria does not apply to children. I was never given a reason why, but it isn't.     That said, you may try to get a second opinion from another GI who may be willing to give her a firm dx.  We were in your boat 6 years ago and while I'm sure I'll get slammed for it, I wish we had kept gluten in our kiddos diet till he scoped positive for a variety of reasons.  Again, even family is different and you have to find what is best for you!
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