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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

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Hello everyone-

I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac, and am experiencing some confusion with the instructions my doctor gave me regarding my diet.

I have yet to get my biopsy, as I am low income and have to wait for the county to approve me for this procedure, but my blood test came back positive, and I have been fairly ill for the last five years.

After diagnosis, I asked my doctor to go over the gluten free lifestyle and the best ways to avoid cross contamination, as well as keeping a gluten free kitchen (my partner still eats gluten).

According to my doctor, she said there is no need for me to worry about cross contamination, or eating wherever I like. She said that it is stupid to have "celiac take over my whole life," and that as long as I am not intentionally ingesting gluten that I should heal, since my nutrients "aren't that bad." This is contrary to everything that I have read, or heard about celiac disease up to this point, and I am not apt to believe that I was given the best advice.

If someone could clear up the confusion for me that would be great. I am being really diligent about not eating gluten because I am tired of being sick. And if cross contamination is going to continue to cause me to have bouts of horrible digestive issues like I've been having, I am not understanding the advice my doc gave me.

Thank you so much!

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Your doctor is an idiot for a variety of reasons.

Telling someone to go gluten free before an endoscopy is, in short, moronic. It can lead to a false negative. Of course, false positive blood work is pretty much unheard of so it isn't the worst thing in the world except that your doctor (based on his level of stupidity) will then cease to take anything you say seriously.

No doctor would dream of telling someone with a nut allergy not to worry about cross contamination. It could literally kill them. I can't fathom why a medical profession, of all the people, would be one to not take a medically necessary diet seriously. The first time you eat out, share the toaster, don't clean the counter well, let your partner taste your dessert off your fork or some such and end up locked in a bathroom for a night you'll see that it does need to be taken seriously. Please, please, see the newbie thread over in the coping section.

Your doctor is grossly misinformed and if you will be relying on someone for continued medical care in the future after an endoscopy I highly recommend seeking someone with a background in celiac in your area if at all possible. At the very least a "go google it" is far less dangerous than what your doctor is doing, at least then the doctor is admitting that they aren't informed and they can't help.

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Dear God. :blink:

Congratulations on not taking the doctor's advice on this one.

Treat it as if you have a peanut allergy. Altho the mechanism and reaction is slower, and it won't kill you outright, quickly, very small amounts of gluten, ingested daily, continue to stimulate the auto immune response which tells your body to attack itself, which then leads to another series of physical ailments. Why risk this ?

And you will become more sensitive to trace amounts, over time. So maybe the first few years, you won't get hammered by a bit of cross contamination, but later on, you very well might be.

Some doctors will tell patients not to be perfectionists, under the impression that if they give them permission to be less that absolutely perfect, then the pressure lessens on them to cheat. So you may have a doctor with a diabetic patient say maybe a treat once or twice a year won't kill you. But, people will interpret that too liberally sometimes, and think that if they don't "feel" sick, they then can keep on cheating once a week, etc. Like diabetes, gluten- damage may not show up immediately, but it is going on, inside, and it will malnourish you over time, creating not only problems with your gut and digestion, but your skin, liver, gall bladder, stomach acid/reflux, bones, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, nerves, brain function, thyroid..... I could go on and on. There is also a neurological variation which attacks the brain and nerves and even can affect your vision, and causes a loss of balance and symptoms similar to MS. The "neuro- people" (& that's me in that category) tend to be more sensitive to trace gluten, just as the DH (skin rash) people are.

The easiest way to avoid cross contamination is to have a gluten free home, if that is not possible, (and don't feel bad if that doesn't work out, the significant others vary in how they handle this, mine is flexible and will eat anything that I bake) then your work spaces and your porous utensils and porous cookware (plastics, rubber, wood, teflon, cast iron) should be clean and dedicated gluten free. This can be as simple as laying down a paper towel automatically every time you start anything on the counter, replacing or duplicating a few essential cookware items, such as the toaster, colander, cutting board, and tupperware, and go from there. Anything you dip a spoon or knife into, then rub on regular bread or whatnot, should not be used by you, you should have your own gluten free mayonnaise jar, butter, etc. Avoid crumbs ! Paper towels and permanent sharpie markers are your friends. I have a wheat- allergic dog who reacts pretty severely compared to how I do (I have never puked on the floor like that :o) so we had to ditch gluten in ALL of our pet and livestock feeds too, so he wouldn't puke and scratch himself crazy - and he's a drooler, so I don't want him licking me with that stuff, either. The dog, and the horse allergic to certain horse type feeds, which sets off his other allergies, have actually taught me more about cross- contamination in real life than I expected. You can have one cat eating cheap food with gluten, drinking out of a stock tank or water bucket, which the dog and horse have access to, causing a LOT of problems in 3 other species !

If you advance to eating out, it will be trial and error until you find places that are safe and know how to really do gluten free for gluten free, but it is do- able. But you will need to be vigilant, because there are a few that are less than stellar.

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Thank you guys so much for making me feel less insane. It's difficult because for the last few years I was treated as though I was imagining being sick (especially odd considering that my ethiopian feed the children belly that would last for weeks would cause me to shoot from a size six to a twelve within a day). It just felt kind of odd for her to be treating me as though my medical condition was not a "real" medical condition with a "real" treatment. You may as well tell someone who has depression to avoid really horribly written pop songs about love. In short, I think my doc is full of it, and I am glad that I am ignoring her advice. Thanks again, and I am hoping to be feeling better soon!

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Please get a new doctor if possible. Also know that any future tests, once going gluten free, will no longer be accurate, so a future negative test does not mean you don't have celiac.

Both my son and I have it and we react differently to different amounts. My son is VERY sensitive, so we avoid any possibility of cross contamination. We don't eat out (unless it is a 100% gluten-free facility) and he doesn't eat any food prepared in someone else's kitchen (unless they happen to be gluten free). He reacts to even the smallest amounts and will be sick for weeks.

Our doctor said to be a careful as you need to be to keep your antibodies at a normal level (retest at 3 months, 6 months, one year).

We even avoid gluten-free food if it is packaged in a facility that processes other foods that contain gluten.

Your first degree relatives also need to be tested . . . even if they have no symptoms.


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I think ultimately what we should all be going for is gluten free all the time. However, I do think that there's something to be said for assessing your own sensitivity because we are all so different. I've only been gluten free for about two months, my son one, so it's all very new for me. But personally I do eat out and eat some products that are "processed in facilities that also process wheat". My home is %100 gluten-free and I plan out all meals, etc., but I would rather see how we do at this level before getting highly restrictive. Honestly, we allow ourselves small exposure to toxins of all kinds every day. It's not a pretty thought, but we're always finding a balance that works for us.

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