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You’re at the doctor’s office explaining exactly what your symptoms have been. Now what? What’s the doctor going to say?

The next order of business should be testing to rule out Celiac disease. If your doctor doesn’t do so, then ask them to order a “Celiac Screen with Reflex”. Always advocate for yourself if you feel something isn’t right.

Either way, blood tests to look at antibodies are ordered to rule out Celiac disease, which can be any of the following:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. Since, unfortunately, it’s common to be diagnosed with more than one autoimmune disease, Doc might order these blood tests too:

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – this blood test looks at how the thyroid is functioning. A high or low result could indicate that the thyroid is either working too much or not enough
  • Renal function panel – this blood test looks at how the kidneys are functioning. It also looks at blood glucose levels. An elevated blood glucose level could indicate diabetes

Celiac disease can cause nutritional deficiencies which is why these tests could be ordered:

  • Bone density scan – a non-invasive body scan to check bone health
  • Iron – a blood test to check iron levels in the body to rule out iron deficient anemia

I had my blood drawn, what’s next?

If the blood work for Celiac disease comes back positive, the doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) where they typically order an endoscopy to biopsy the stomach. The biopsy will show whether or not there has been damage to the stomach’s lining.

What’s an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is an outpatient procedure where a doctor inserts a tiny, flexible tube with a camera into your mouth and down your throat to your stomach (under sedation, of course). This is how they can determine whether your stomach has suffered any damage caused by eating gluten.

If the biopsy comes back positive, a diagnosis of Celiac disease is typically given.

A negative biopsy result could determine a Non-Celiac gluten intolerance or NCGI. Check out my post on why people go gluten free for an explanation into the difference.

At this point, hopefully you have a diagnosis, or at least more clarity into why you’ve been feeling crummy. You go home with your head spinning. Feeling overwhelmed, not knowing what to do next…

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Stay tuned for Part 3 which will include some helpful tips.