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HealthInfo Canterbury

Do I have coeliac disease?

There are no specific symptoms of coeliac disease, and many people with coeliac disease have no obvious symptoms at all. Symptoms you may experience include:

If you are worried about any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP.

If you have a first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister, or child) with coeliac disease, then you have a 10% chance of having it as well.

Coeliac disease tests and diagnosis

Important

Don't start a gluten-free diet until you've been diagnosed with coeliac disease, as you need to be eating gluten to get accurate test results. If you've been on a gluten-free diet, you'll need to return to a normal diet for four to six weeks before testing. During this time, you'll need to eat at least four slices of wheat-based bread (or equivalent) daily.

This flyer from Education in Nutrition describes the types of gluten-containing foods you should eat for accurate coeliac disease testing.

Your GP will ask you if you have any coeliac-related symptoms, and will discuss your family history and overall health and lifestyle.

If it's possible that you might have coeliac disease, you'll need to have a screening blood test. If this test shows you might have coeliac disease, you will need to have a procedure called a gastroscopy. This is done at Christchurch Hospital Gastroenterology Department. The gastroscopy is free but you may have to wait up to three months to have one.

If you prefer, or if you don't want to wait, you can pay to have a gastroscopy done privately.

This page from Coeliac New Zealand explains more about tests for coeliac disease.

On the next page: Living with coeliac disease

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by GP liaison, Gastroenterology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed July 2017.

See also:

Preparing for your doctor's visit

Sources

Page reference: 44354

Review key: HICOA-25716