When To See A Doctor
Home tests may indicate whether a person has celiac disease, but anyone with symptoms of gluten intolerance may have to visit their doctor for a diagnosis.
No effective gluten sensitivity blood or stool tests exist. Doctors diagnose it by ruling out other conditions and encouraging the person to try an elimination diet.
How Is Gluten Intolerance Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history. If they suspect you have a gluten intolerance, these are the next steps to confirm the diagnosis:
- Step 1: You eat a diet containing gluten for about six weeks. During this time, your healthcare provider performs blood tests and skin tests to rule out a wheat allergy or celiac disease. There isnt a gluten intolerance test.
- Step 2: If you dont have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, your healthcare provider will ask you to exclude gluten from your diet for at least six weeks. Keep a thorough record of your symptoms during this time, noting which symptoms improve.
- Step 3: If your symptoms do improve while youre on a gluten-free diet, you gradually reintroduce gluten back into your diet. If symptoms return, you likely have a gluten intolerance.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is very little risk to having allergy skin tests. The test itself is not painful. The most common side effect is red, itchy skin at the test sites. In very rare cases, an allergy skin test may cause anaphylactic shock. This is why skin tests need to be done in a providers office where emergency equipment is available. If youve had a patch test and feel intense itching or pain under the patches once you are home, remove the patches and call your provider.
Also Check: Gluten Free Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
Genetic Testing May Help To Confirm A Diagnosis
People who have Celiac disease also carry the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 genes or both of them. The only problem is that 40% of the general population also carries one or both of these genes. This means testing positive on this gluten intolerance blood test does not mean someone will develop Celiac disease, but the results can be used with other test results to put together a diagnostic picture.
Genetic testing may also become a first priority for a gluten intolerance diagnosis if the individual involved has already switched over to a gluten-free diet. No antibodies against gluten can be produced without its consumption, but the genetic testing can at least determine if further testing may be required. This specific test can be done with a cheek swab, with saliva, or through the use of a blood test.
As a final resort, when all testing methods are inconclusive for gluten intolerance, a biopsy of the small intestine may be needed. This is the only current method of diagnosis Celiac disease. If the biopsy comes back as negative and there are no histamine results to gluten from allergy testing, then a gluten intolerance will be confirmed.
A Special Note About Celiac Disease Testing
One important note to remember: if you are concerned that you may have Celiac Disease, speak with your healthcare provider before introducing gluten into your diet. In the event that you do have Celiac disease, it can be hazardous to your health. Celiac Disease is covered in greater detail in this blog post.
Also Check: Are Rice Chex Gluten Free
There Is A Risk Present For A False Positive Result
Not only will some patients naturally test negative on the gluten intolerance blood test, certain co-existing medical conditions can create false results. People with liver disease, Type 1 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, or certain heart conditions can also test have negative test results on the first gluten intolerance blood test.
Thats why there are 3 additional tests which may be ordered and then compared with the first initial results to help come up with a diagnosis.
The EMA blood test looks for specific antibodies that are created when gluten is consumed as well. The specificity of this test is nearly 100%, although up to 10% of people who do have Celiac disease will have a negative test result. This gluten intolerance blood test is usually reserved for those who have a difficult diagnosis because it is relatively expensive and requires cord blood to complete.
The IgA total serum blood test is a second option when trying to screen out the possibility of Celiac disease. When Celiac disease is present in the body, it may naturally produce a false negative on the EMA blood test because of an IgA deficiency. This test can determine if that deficiency is present. If it is, then a third and final blood test may be ordered.
The DGP IgA or IgG blood test is used as a further screen to test for antibodies. The results of these tests will then be compared to each other in order to determine if there is the possibility of Celiac disease present.
How To Know If You Have Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Your doctor can test you for celiac disease. If you dont have it, that doesnt automatically rule out non celiac sensitivity.
There is two ways to test for that: an elimination diet or stool testing.
The challenge with testing through elimination diet is that some people can have a delayed reaction to gluten. It could take up to 3 or 4 days for symptoms to develop.
The most definitive way to test for gluten sensitivity is through the stool testing. The GI Map tests gliadin, a common immune marker for gluten.
If gliadin has a value of over 100 on the GI Map it suggests mild gluten sensitivity. Anything over 150 suggests a severe reaction. Youll have consume a small amount of gluten within 3 months of the test to get an accurate assessment. One bite of bread is sufficient.
Stool testing is one of the most effective ways to detect gluten sensitivity. The anti-gliadin antibody can be found in fecal samples even when blood concentrations are undetectable.
High levels of fecal anti-gliadin antibodies will determine whether a gluten-free diet is mandatory for healing the gut. If so, there needs to be 100 percent compliance to a gluten-free diet. One exposure can restart the cycle of gut inflammation for months.
Surprisingly, some of my clients, who follow a gluten-free diet, have high gliadin antibodies. This indicates inadvertent exposure to gluten, where out or at home.
Recommended Reading: Vegan And Gluten Free Granola Bars
What Is Coeliac Disease
If you have coeliac disease, your immune systems response to gluten causes damage to the small intestine when the tiny, finger-like projections lining the bowel, called villi, become inflamed and flattened. This is called villous atrophy and it reduces the available surface area of the bowel to absorb nutrients from food.
It is a serious medical condition. If its not well controlled it can lead to complications such as osteoporosis, infertility, chronic poor health, depression and teeth problems. However, early diagnosis and treatment of coeliac disease significantly reduces the risk of most complications ever occurring.
Coeliac disease affects people of all ages and gender. It runs in families and can develop at any age from infancy to adulthood. If you have coeliac disease, you should tell close relatives who share your genes that you have coeliac disease, so they can be tested.
Diagnosis: What To Expect
Since celiac disease tends to run in families, if you have a parent, child, brother, or sister with the disease, talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested. Celiac disease is more common in people with type 1 diabetes, autoimmune liver disease, thyroid disease, Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, or Williams syndrome. So if you have any of these conditions, you should also ask your doctor to test you for celiac.
Recommended Reading: Gluten Free Bread Crumbs Kroger
Test For Food Allergies & Intolerances To Wheat And Gluten
Testing for intolerances to wheat and gluten
Testing for wheat or gluten food intolerance can be conducted through a simple home-to-lab blood sample test. A small blood sample can conveniently be taken at home and then sent to a lab for analysis. These tests analyze the bloods IgG levels for intolerance to various food items and use standardized benchmarks to make these measurements .
Testing for allergies to wheat and gluten
An allergy test can be conducted using the same blood sample but looking for a different strand of immunoglobin . This sample can also be taken at home and sent to a lab for testing, with results then sent back to you, highlighting any potential allergies.
At Allergy Test, our expert team has devised a scientifically validated food allergy & intolerance blood testing kit, highlighting what foods your body is intolerant to, including wheat or gluten. Examining hundreds of food and non-food items, the team aims to provide you with all the results you need. This can be completed easily at home by sending us a sample of your blood in the post.
We also offer sensitivity testing which allows us to assess your sensitivities against up to 800 items using just a few strands of hair.
The full Allergy Test process offers:
- Scientifically validated blood testing
- Comprehensive Reports sent via email and to our app
- Access to nutritional therapy aftercare
What You Need To Know
Diagnosing celiac disease is not simple. To assume a single blood test will accurately diagnose your condition is to greatly underestimate the process.
In addition, you can test negative for celiac disease but still have one or more of several different forms of gluten intolerance, including:
- Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis
- Gluten Ataxia
Each of these conditions require a different mode of diagnosis. Dermatitis herpetiformis requires a skin biopsy, not blood work.
An endoscopy with biopsy is still considered the gold standard for diagnosing celiac disease.
The most recent and accurate blood tests available are the tests for Deamidated Gliadin Peptides and IgA Endomysial Antibodies, so if your doctor decides to do blood work, make sure these are done.
Recommended Reading: Is Red Wine Gluten Free
How To Test For Gluten Sensitivity At Home
Unfortunately, thats a very popular question these days. Sensitivity to gluten is on top of a lot of peoples minds.
As you may already know, gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten helps foods to maintain their shape by acting as a sort of glue that holds the food together.
Gluten intolerance occurs when, you guessed it, your body cannot tolerate gluten. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, so when a person has an intolerance, that can spell trouble. In these circumstances, a person may experience symptoms such as:
- or strong odorous feces.
Other symptoms may include non-gastrointestinal symptoms, such as brain fog, headache, joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. When present, these symptoms typically occur within hours or days after ingesting gluten.
Allergen Skin Tests Are Generally Low Risk And Without Significant Side Effects But Rarely A More Severe Reaction Can Occur So It Is Important To Be Tested In An Appropriate Medical Setting
Most often, allergen skin tests result only in mild localized itching and swollen bumps where tests are positive. These symptoms go away on their own within the day, and sometimes an ice pack, a topical steroid, or an antihistamine may be helpful. Less often, a delayed reaction can occur at one or more of the test sites after you have left the office, resulting in an area of swelling, tenderness, redness, and possibly itching that can last for several days. Rarely, introduction of allergens into the skin can produce a severe immediate allergic reaction that requires treatment immediately, which is why it is important to have your skin tests performed in the office.
Recommended Reading: Krusteaz Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
Complications Related To Diet
Carefully following a gluten free diet is very important for good management of coeliac disease. Long-term complications can occur when a gluten free diet is not followed. These include:
- increased risk of bowel lymphoma
- chronic ill health
The risk of these complications is the same as the rest of the population when a gluten free diet is followed.
Allergy Blood Test Vs Skin Test
Allergy blood tests are used to find out if you have an allergy. One type of allergy blood test called a total immunoglobulin E test measures the overall number of immunoglobulin E antibodies in your blood. Another type of allergy blood test called a specific IgE test measures the level of IgE antibodies in response to individual allergens.
In allergy blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
What do the allergy blood test results mean?
If your total immunoglobulin E levels are higher than normal, it likely means you have some kind of allergy. But it does not reveal what you are allergic to. A specific immunoglobulin E test will help identify your particular allergy. If your results indicate an allergy, your health care provider may refer you to an allergy specialist or recommend a treatment plan.
Your treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of your allergy. People at risk for anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can cause death, need to take extra care to avoid the allergy-causing substance. They may need to carry an emergency epinephrine treatment with them at all times.
You May Like: Gluten Free Desserts Recipes Real Simple
Why Doctors Want You Tested Before You Go Gluten Free
A gluten-free diet can reduce the biomarkers doctors use to confirm the presence of celiac disease, making a complete diagnosis very difficult. Doctors dont like to have an inconclusive diagnosis because celiac disease is a serious medical condition that should be in your official medical profile.
Basically, once you remove gluten from your diet, your body produces less of the harmful antibodies triggered by gluten and the villi along the wall of your small intestine begin to heal. If your villi are healthy and you dont have raised antibodies in your blood, you may test negative for celiac disease. So if you take steps to eliminate a gluten intolerance on your own, you may also make it difficult to have your condition accurately diagnosed.
Because patients are understandably wary about eating food theyre sure is hurting them, doctors and researchers are trying to make testing more sensitive so that a gluten challenge can be shorter and less intimidating.