When Doctors think you might have Celiac disease, or, if you have had a blood test that said are suspected of having Celiac disease, the next step is to have an endoscopy.
Before this though, they ask you to eat gluten for six straight weeks, so they can then look at the effect the gluten has on the tiny bumps (villi) that line your small intestine.
The villi help your body take in nutrients from food into your bloodstream. People with Celiac Disease are often nutrient deficient, so this is serious.
In this video I talk about my personal experience with the gluten challenge.
Let’s update this for 1 year after the gluten challenge with new thoughts!
When I was initially diagnosed, it was with a blood test. From all my other symptoms my doctor was confident it was celiac, and since I was too scared to have the endoscopy to confirm (endoscopy is 100% accurate, blood test is 98% or so) I decided to go gluten free to see if my symptoms went away.
Luckily, most of them did though it took about a year to see most of them go away. Unfortunately one stuck around, the acid reflux. This symptom was actually what preempted my doctor to run all the tests and initially found celiac. Since it had not gone away from being gluten free, and being at my wits end after taking PPI’s (proton pump inhibitor) for years with no help I decided it was time to finally do the endoscopy to make sure I wasn’t dealing with anything else.
It was required to eat gluten for 6 weeks before the endoscopy and thought I’d see the majority of my symptoms come back while I was eating gluten. They all came after I went gluten free again. I also thought they would only be there for a month at most since I had only eaten gluten for 6 weeks, I was also wrong.
As I update this now, it has been 1 year 3 months since the gluten challenge and I’d say it took a year for the symptoms to go away again.
It’s the last thing you want to read if you’re in the same situation. Am I glad I did the gluten challenge? Yes, because a 100% diagnosis made me feel better, and I was able to find other causes (and fixes!) to my acid reflux. It also allowed me to see which symptoms came back that I could definitively say celiac was causing for me, and that being gluten free will fix.
Would I want to go through that year again? Of course not, I would advise myself to do the endoscopy at the beginning instead. Though finding what symptoms were definitely due to celiac was such a big help, I think I would have learned that throughout the years anyway.
Do you think you may have celiac disease? Don’t try going gluten free to test it on your own!
Go to a doctor for a blood test before altering your eating. Eating gluten free gets easier with time, but it will always be something you need to deal with. I would much rather know for sure, especially if your symptoms are something else.