Coeliac Disease

Being diagnosed with coeliac disease can be confusing and overwhelming. All of a sudden you have to worry about what gluten is, where it is and what you can eat? At Everyday Nutrition we are gut health experts, we know that change doesn’t happen overnight. We are here to support you and guide you through the step by step changes to help you eat for your body and your needs.

What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body acts abnormally in response to the protein gluten. For the 1-2% of the population who have coeliac disease, eating gluten will trigger a release of antibodies that attack the lining of the small intestine. The resulting damage affects nutrient absorption and potentially leads to abdominal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, cramping or nausea), iron deficiency, osteoporosis, fertility problems and even lymphoma. Importantly, some people with active coeliac disease have only mild ‘IBS-like’ symptoms, and some have no gut symptoms at all. For this reason, coeliac disease can often go undiagnosed.

How is Coeliac disease diagnosed?

Given the seriousness of coeliac disease, having an accurate diagnosis is important for long term health and wellbeing.

  1. Diagnosing coeliac disease is a two-step process:
    A blood test to screen for the likelihood of coeliac disease. This blood test looks for the presence of tTG-IgA and DGP antibodies.
  2. If the blood test is positive, a gastroscopy is performed and a biopsy taken from the small bowel. This biopsy is examined under a microscope to assess for damage.

Since both of these tests are looking for either antibodies or damage caused when someone with coeliac disease eats gluten, it is important to be tested before going on a gluten free diet.

If you are already gluten free, the tests may give a false negative, regardless of if you have coeliac disease or not. In this case you will need to do a “gluten challenge” to know for sure if you have coeliac disease or not. Please seek medical advice before removing gluten from your diet.

Regardless of symptoms, coeliac disease is a serious condition. At the present moment, the only treatment we have for coeliac disease is a strict gluten free diet for life, including care to avoid cross contamination. Understanding the intricacies of a gluten free diet is important.

In a small number of people gluten intolerance can exist without Coeliac Disease. Everyday Nutrition dietitians are experts who can help you identify if gluten is in fact a trigger for your symptoms and what level of restriction is necessary for you.

At Everyday Nutrition we can help you:

  • Learn what you need to know about what coeliac disease is and how its managed
  • Discuss what testing you need now and in the future
  • Learn what you need to know to work out what you can and can’t eat
  • Learn about cross contamination
  • Label reading and grocery shopping
  • Support strategies for meal planning, recipe ideas, eating out and travelling