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Blood tests for coeliac disease or gluten intolerance

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After 12 years of an IBS diagnosis (constipation), I fumbled across "gluten intolerance" and was curious. I tried cutting everything out and I couldn't believe the difference it made in my life. Barely anymore gas, better bowel movements and more frequent, no more bloating (my stomach seems to have shrunk and my pants fit better!), and I feel a lot better overall and more energetic. Now I found out there's a blood test to diagnose it, but I've already been off gluten for 3 months. Should I bother to reintroduce it to get the blood test? Does the blood test help determine other courses of action with other illnesses that could arise? I can't see me going back to gluten full-time b/c the difference is remarkable since I've been off it (did I mention the red bumps on my triceps are gone too?), but I do want to know the value of a diagnosis in my medical file. Can it help, hurt, not matter? Thank you!

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replied February 22nd, 2010
Intestinal Disorders Answer A10166
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know whether blood tests are an important part of diagnosis of coeliac disease also known as gluten intolerance.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people. Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin and other types of gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. During exposure to gluten the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. This condition is diagnosed with a gluten-free diet, blood tests (where anti-tTG antibodies, antibodies against tissue transglutaminase, are detected), endoscopy and biopsy, and tests that are performed to identify complications such as iron deficiency, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency and hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels, often due to decreased vitamin D levels).

Given the data that you described, you may consider having the blood tests, endoscopy and biopsy to confirm the diagnose of coeliac disease. You may want to engage in a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please contact your doctor for further advice and information about diagnosis and treatment options.

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