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Re-Glutening For Blood Test?

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I am 36 year old woman and I'm pretty confident that I have a gluten intolerance or possibly Celiac disease. For my entire life I have been asymptomatic but a few months ago I developed a bad cold virus while simultaneously suffering with some severe emotional stress. I developed bad muscle cramps and - for the first time ever - some GI (reflux/indigestion) and bowel problems, burning tongue and white tongue, excessive post nasal drip, & a few mouth ulcers.

A friend of mine who has Celiac suggested I try going gluten free. I did so (with a few mishaps involving glutened juice) and all of my symptoms - disappeared. Prior to trying the gluten free diet, my doctor ran standard blood tests for a physical, ran a local allergen panel, took a culture of my white tongue (I thought that might have been thrush due to antibiotics I had been on a few times this year for dental work), had an abdominal ultrasound (blood in urine), and chest xray (for congestion/post nasal drip). All of my test results came back normal.

My father passed away in his 40s from Pancreatic Cancer so she also ran my amylase levels - also normal.

On my follow-up with my doctor I asked her if I might have a gluten intolerance - she said it was pretty common and she gave me another order for blood work to check the gluten antibodies.

I have been reading up on gluten/Celiac testing and have read that I need to re-gluten to get accurate test results. I had been "gluten free" for a week. For the past two days I have eaten bread and pasta and my white/burning tongue and bowel issues have come back. I have been taking Claritin but do believe my PND is back too. My question is (sorry for the long into) how long do I need to "re-gluten" after going gluten free for a week to get an accurate blood test? I would like to return to a gluten free diet as soon as possible but don't want to influence the blood test results. Also given that I've never had any recognizable symptoms (particularly bowel problems) prior to the past few months, would an ENDO biopsy even show anything? If the blood tests show possible gluten intolerance/Celiac I have no problem going gluten free. I don't want to continue a gluten diet just to get an ENDO biopsy which I probably wouldn't be able to schedule for another few weeks. No one in my (very small) family has been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, although my uncle was diagnosed with diverticulitis a few years ago.

Any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated. This is actually the first health issue I've ever had so I'm pretty much a novice in the world of doctors/tests/blood work/asking the right questions to the right people and pushing for the right answers.

Many Thanks!

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Hello and welcome. Well, there is the possibility that one week gluten free would not significantly affect the outcome, but there is no guarantee. It is always advised to eat gluten right up to the time that all testing is finished. If it were two weeks, I would think it would definitely be a problem, but you might get away with one. How long have you been back on gluten? For a true reglutening, the recommendation is the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread per day for at least two months, preferably three, which can seem like an eternity when you are going through it. This is true for the blood tests and biopsy because the antibodies in the blood go off duty in the absence of gluten, and the damage in the small intestine can start to heal as soon as gluten is withdrawn. So the fact that you haven't had symptoms very long could work against you in the number of antibodies and the amount of damage. I know, I'm not giving you any definite answer because there is none. But the length of time for consumption of gluten is the same for blood or biopsy, unfortunately. I can't therefore offer any advice :rolleyes: - It is something you are going to have to decide for yourself. In making that decision, be aware that you could still test negative for celiac disease, that it may be an unspecified gluten intolerance for which there is no testing. The medical profession is just now starting to recognize that there is gluten intolerance beyond celiac disease, but they haven't been able to define it or test for it yet :(

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Thanks for the info! I didn't realize that there wasn't a specific test that could identify a gluten sensitivity in the absence of Celiac disease. I have been loading up on the gluten for the past two days - definitely three pieces of bread worth per day. I figure if I'm going to have to cut it out forever I may as well enjoy the taste (if not the after-effects) while I can, right?

I guess my big issue is the annoyance of the post nasal drip. The GI/bowel issues I can deal with - but the post nasal drip is incessant throughout the day and incredibly disruptive to my life. With regular spring allergies coming along soon I definitely don't want to layer my allergies!

I think I'll set up the test for the end of next week and hope that the results yield an answer of some sort.

The only other thing I can think of that may be causing my symptoms is possibly chronic mercury poisoning from a huge amalgam filling that I am having removed and crowned tomorrow.

Regardless of the outcome, I've made a decision to seriously lower my gluten intake (if I don't need to eliminate it completely) in the future. I had no idea that so many Celiac patients develop problems with the Pancreas and I do wonder now if my carb loving Dad was a silent Celiac who developed Pancreatic cancer from the damage done to his digestive system.

Thanks so much for the super fast reply. So much to learn and I truly appreciate your help!

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