Diagnosing coeliac disease
Diagnosing coeliac disease can be difficult, as it can often be mis-diagnosed. Sometimes people with coeliac disease don’t even know they have it.
It can sometimes be difficult to get a diagnosis if your doctor thinks your symptoms are related to another condition for instance irritable bowel disease. The average diagnosis for coeliac disease is 10 years!
What should I do if I think I have coeliac disease?
Firstly you need to make an appointment with your GP to discuss your symptoms. Some doctors are still in the dark about it and sometimes give you the wrong information.
Some doctors are even advising patients to give up gluten, if you give up gluten before your test, your body may not show the anti-bodies which will mean your test will be inaccurate.
It is important that you DO NOT stop eating gluten for the entire time you are being tested (blood test and biopsy), this can be as long as 3-4 months.
It is harder to reintroduce gluten once you have cut it out due to the severity of symptoms, some patients find that they feel too ill to reintroduce for the 6 week period that is needed and give up on getting a diagnosis.
How do I get a diagnosis?
There are 2 parts to diagnosing coeliac disease
A simple blood test which checks for antibodies – it is possible to have a negative test and yet still have coeliac disease.
A biopsy (Do not go gluten free) you’re GP will refer you, to a gastroenterologist if you have a positive blood test, for a gut biopsy.
Diagnosing coeliac disease in children
A child who has had a positive blood test may not always be sent for a biopsy, new information published by Coeliac UK and the British society of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition (BSPGHAN) states that if children with coeliac disease symptoms, who have a high level of antibodies in the blood test and who also have the genes for coeliac disease may not need to have a biopsy confirming a diagnosis.
To make sure the correct diagnosis is carried out your child will be referred to a gastroenterologist for the appropriate tests.