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Not Sure What To Do - Going Gluten Free Now Or Later

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K. The more I learn about Celiac's the more I'm convinced I have it. Currently a poor college student with really bad health insurance and don't know if I can afford to go thru several doctors to get what I want. Its not completely set, but I'm planning on getting tested at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. They are offering free blood screening on Oct. 10, 2009. I'm planning to get tested then. My concern is I've heard people say not to go gluten free before getting tested. I've already cut back on gluten and seen improvements. I don't have it completely down and still get glutened. I'm far enough along that I don't want to stop avoiding gluten.

Will my test result be okay if I continue on avoiding gluten? Do I need to start eating gluten a couple days before testing? A month? I'm not sure what is appropriate. I hoping that the blood test does the trick, wanting to avoid extra procedures, extra cost. Or do I just go gluten free and self diagnosis myself.

Need a be pointed in a proper direction.

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Hi and welcome! :)

If you're planning on being tested in October, you should not go gluten-free or even gluten lite at all beforehand. It's difficult when you are seeing positive changes, but the rule of thumb for a gluten challenge is at least 3-4 months of the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread a day.

Plus, sometimes after you cut out gluten and feel better, reintroducing it causes symptoms to be even worse than before.

You can always just go gluten-free 100% and leave it at that, but if you want a shot at a diagnosis, you should stay on a regular diet until the test. Then, even if it's negative, you could choose to go gluten-free if it makes you feel better.

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Need a be pointed in a proper direction.

It is your decision to make. If you want to be tested in October, going gluten free beforehand (as has been pointed out) will likely give you a negative result regardless of whether or not you're actually celiac. Moreover, if you want a definitive diagnosis, you would have to continue to eat gluten until you have a biopsy of your small intestine. Many of us find this insane and a direct contradiction of the Hippocratic Oath. You can read my signature; I'm one of those people who just went gluten free and didn't sweat a formal diagnosis. (My financial and health insurance situations are like yours.) I can't advise you or counsel you; the choice is yours. But if you find you're benefiting from a gluten free diet, and unless you can think of some specific benefit that a formal diagnosis would give you (e.g., you might stick to the diet better if you knew absolutely for sure that you're celiac), I can't see a point to 4 months of extra glutening. You can always still do the blood test in October as it's free. Just don't consider it definitive if you get a negative result.

(You might also contact the U of C clinic now and ask them what their advice would be, stressing that you would prefer to stay gluten free.)

Good luck to you, and welcome!

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