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What Exactly Is The "gluten Challenge?"

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Though I would not recommend it, some doctors like to put their patients on a gluten challenge if the gluten-free diet seems to have helped them. The idea is that:

1. Prior to diagnosis you ate gluten...and you got sick.

2. You stopped eating gluten...and you're feeling better.

so....if you start eating gluten again, you should feel sick again. Some doctors have you eat gluten for a couple weeks after the diet seems to have helped. This way they can make sure that it was gluten that was giving you your problems and not some other problem. It's simply verification. So, a gluten challenge is when you purposely eat gluten for numerous weeks (after having tried the gluten-free diet and felt better on it) and note any symptoms or effects it has on your body. If you feel sick on gluten the second time, too, you can determine it was celiac.

I don't like the idea of a gluten challenge cause I feel that if you've tested positive before, you shouldn't put your intestines through distress again. A gluten challenge would be better suited to people who tried the gluten-free diet without first testing and now want to make sure they really have celiac.

There are probably better explanations...try a search for gluten challenge, but write it as follows: +gluten +challenge. Otherwise, the search will come up with everything that has the word "gluten" in it, regardless of whether it has to do w/ challenge. If you do a plus before each word, every search result must have both words in it.


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Gluten challenge = sheer misery with little positive results. Take it from one who has been there. I sat and cried when my symptoms gradually came back and I went through weeks of misery over two weeks worth of freedom. Even then the GI doc did not want to believe it without a positive biopsy. Never again for me.



South Georgia

9 yrs gluten-free

...also DH, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, osteopenia, hypothyroid...

After almost 10 years, I am doing soooo much better!

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I went gluten-free before any testing, and had inconclusive (neither negative nor positive) results. So I did a gluten challenge where I remained gluten-free for the rest of the month, then ate a big wholloping dose of gluten to see how I felt. I felt ill. I went that route, instead of a biopsy, since I didn't care about specifically having a biopsy. It _can_ be a useful diagnostic tool, but it's not for everyone or every situation.

Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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It's basically that after you have gone on the gluten-free diet for at least a couple of months, they challenge your diagnosis, put you back on gluten for a couple of weeks-up to a year, and then do more testing to see if that is the right diagnosis, my doctor suggested it to me, but my mom refused, because she didn't want me to go through any more pain.


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