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Changing Bowel Habits in Celiac Disease--Before and After Gluten-Free Diet

Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Dec;99(12):2429-36.

Celiac.com 02/27/2005 – In order to determine whether body mass index (BMI) may play a role in gut transit time in those with celiac disease, Swedish researchers conducted a study on 27 patients (16 female) with untreated celiac disease, both before and after a gluten-free diet. Detailed gastrointestinal transit times and BMI calculations were determined for each patient prior to the implementation of a gluten-free diet. Ten patients (5 female) were also studied after the implementation of a gluten-free diet. The researchers used a new radiological procedure to determine the exact transit times in each patient, and the results were compared to that of a control group of 83 healthy people.

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The findings of the study indicate that untreated male patients BMI was lower than that of healthy male controls, and their small bowel transit times were significantly slower (3.9 hours versus 2.5 hours). In the group studied after the implementation of a gluten-free diet patients BMI increased significantly, and small bowel transit times accelerated from 3.6 hours prior to dietary treatment to 2.3 hours after. For untreated females BMI did not differ significantly when compared to that of the healthy controls, but 31% of the female patients were overweight--and the small bowel transit times of this overweight female group were markedly shorter when compared to the lean untreated females.

The researchers conclude that: "Small bowel transit seems to be delayed in lean patients with untreated celiac disease. BMI may have some influence on the variations of small bowel transit before and after treatment."

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So just to clarify had not consumed any gluten for about 4 days before testing. I was assured by my allergist that it wouldn't affect the test. But what was alarming was that she retested my food allergies (my most recent reaction was two weeks ago) and every food allergy I have came back negative. I don't understand how that is possible. These food allergies developed when I was 20 and I am almost 24 now.

Thanks! You too! I have learned from this experience to take charge of my own health. It's nice at least that we can try the gluten-free treatment without a firm diagnosis or a doctor confirming the disease. I've also felt some of the gluten withdrawal symptoms, and my stomach pain ebbs and flows, but I'm determined to stick with the gluten-free diet to see what a difference it makes. Gemini, thank you! This was really validating and useful for me to hear. I've felt so confused through this process and just want some answers. If the biopsy results do come back negative, I'm going to follow your advice and do the gluten-free diet with repeat blood testing after a while. If they come back positive, well, then I'll have my answer. I'm supposed to get them back next week.

I have celiac and eosinaphalic esophagitis. I was put on a steroid inhaler recently. I use it like an inhaler but swallow the air instead of breathing it in. You may want to look into EOE and it's relationship to celiac. Just a thought. My swallowing and celiac seem to be related.

You have eat gluten every single day until after testing. And the celiac blood test is supposed to be done as well.

If I was the big guy, there's no way I would have to wait 3 and a half weeks for a test lol. My GI doc never recommended the antibody test. He said doing it with the scope was the only sure way to know. Does anybody know if I should eat a little gluten the day before my test to see if I will get an accurate enough test? Or will it not matter, once the damage is done it's done?