Hi all, Forgive the presumption. I don't have anything near the experience or knowledge base of others here, however I wonder if there's a need for an Intro post for the pre diagnostic board that could serve a similar purpose to this one:  The same questions come up again and again, so this could save some time for users helping new members as long as they agree with the 'stock' answers. I have some time on my hands and want to put something back here having been the recipient of your collective support, so I thought I'd have a go at a draft. If you think the forum is better off without such a post (perhaps with a simple stickied redirect to a bona fide medical site) instead then by all means say so.  If however it's a good idea in your opinion. feel free to tear it apart and correct as you see fit. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Welcome to the forum. If you're in this section, or have been directed here, you've yet to be diagnosed but may suspect that Celiac or gluten could be an issue for you. Please note that we are not medical professionals and although happy to share our experience and support  you should at all times seek medical advice rather than relying on internet based sources. That said, we'll do our best to answer any question you have, just start a topic, but before you post please take a look at the following answers and links to see if they help answer your questions. I have symptoms X,Y and Z could I have Celiac or Gluten sensitivity? We don't know! No-one here can diagnose you via an online post, however detailed or however much your symptoms suggest a connection.  Diagnosis is something for you to explore with your Doctor. What we can tell you is that as Celiac affects the auto immune system it can present in a lot of different ways or none, here's a short summary:  http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/symptoms/ and here's a much longer list of associated conditions:  https://glutenfreeworks.com/gluten-disorders/symptom-guide/  I don't feel well, should I give up gluten to see if that's the problem? Giving up gluten shouldn't be your first port of call, that would be your doctor! Even if you're right to suspect gluten, an accurate diagnosis of Celiac requires the patient to be consuming gluten. If you remove it beforehand you may have a much harder time finding out if gluten really is a problem for you. Also, the Gluten Free diet can be tricky to follow and it may be that you don't need to be quite so restrictive. There is evidence to suggest that other foods may be to blame for symptoms: http://bottomlineinc.com/before-you-give-up-gluten-try-a-low-fodmap-diet/ but you won't find out if you remove gluten first.  I've already excluded gluten and feel better on the gluten-free diet, should I still get tested? This is something you will have to decide for yourself, preferably after a discussion with your doctor. The benefits of testing may include recognition and additional ongoing support from the medical community, further testing for malabsorption, monitoring of intestinal damage and recovery, access to dietician advice and automatic testing for close relatives who may have undiagnosed celiac.  The validation of a positive test may also be helpful in maintaining the gluten-free diet for life without exceptions. Why do I need to eat gluten to get tested? Celiac involves an immune system reaction to gluten. The blood tests measure levels of antibodies in the blood. If gluten isn't present prior to testing those antibody levels could be affected and the test may result in a false negative. Most doctors recommend at least 8 weeks of gluten exposure prior to blood testing and at least 2 weeks for biopsy.  How much gluten do I need to eat for the test to work? There doesn't appear to be a consensus on the level of gluten required, so you're best bet is to discuss with your doctor. Further information on a gluten challenge is available here: https://www.verywell.com/whats-involved-in-a-gluten-challenge-562708 What tests should I request? Tests differ with some labs not offering all the available tests. Ask your doctor or gastro enterologist to outline which tests they use. These are the current markers which should be tested:  Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgA
Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgG
Anti-Endomysial (EMA) IgA
Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA
Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG
Total Serum IgA I went through testing and got a negative result, should I forget about gluten? If you've exhausted the diagnostic process and have a negative result for celiac you may still want to try diet changes to see if they help with symptoms.  Estimates suggest between 0.5% and 6% of the population may suffer from non celiac gluten intolerance: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820047/  You may not have to give up gluten however: http://bottomlineinc.com/before-you-give-up-gluten-try-a-low-fodmap-diet/ If you've finally decided to give up gluten keep a food diary to help track any intolerances and see the celiac newbie thread for help with the gluten-free diet: Other resources:  https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/coeliac-disease-faqs/ - a collection of questions and answers from a UK based Celiac organisation https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/getting-diagnosed/ - a guide to the diagnostic process from a UK perspective.  http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/screening/ - Advice from the University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Centre  https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/gastro/areas-expertise/Pages/celiac-disease-clinic.aspx - Advice from University of California, San Diego Celiac centre http://www.celiac.ca/?page_id=128 FAQ from Canadian Celiac Society https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/diagnosing-celiac-disease/screening/ - screening info from celiac.org http://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/get-tested/ - Testing info from Beyond Celiac