Should I Get Tested for Celiac Before Going Gluten Free?
This information is not intended to give any recommendation, be medical advice or to replace the advice of any medical professional, but just to present differing points of view on this issue.
First of all, if you already know you have an auto-immune disorder, a wheat allergy, ADD, Autism, Migraines, or any other health issue that you feel may be helped by a Gluten Free Diet, then you have seen a medical professional and determined you do not have celiac disease, then this information doesn’t really apply to you. Do keep in mind, however, that many other auto-immune disorders are often related to celiac and may be an indicator to be tested for celiac as well.
If you think you may have celiac disease—
The question arises, however, when you have symptoms that are mysterious, or you have researched celiac and feel that you may have it, should you start a gluten free diet to see if you feel better, or should you see a health care professional and be tested first?
There are generally two points of view that show up among our Facebook friends. Here’s a summary of the comments I’ve heard from both sides of this subject, and some things you may want to consider before making your decision.
Point of View #1:
Yes you should be tested for celiac before going Gluten Free – and here are some reasons why:
- If you have celiac, once you begin a Gluten Free diet, your system begins to heal. If you choose to be tested after having been Gluten Free for a while, a false negative is likely since damage done by gluten is clearing up.
- Many people try the Gluten Free diet before they are tested for celiac, begin to feel much better, and then are hesitant to go back and begin eating gluten again in order to be tested.
- If you have celiac, you will need to be Gluten Free for life, but many other conditions and intolerances often accompany celiac, so if you don’t know if you have it, you may not have all the information needed for your healthiest lifestyle choices.
- If you have an official celiac diagnosis, you can receive some tax benefits in the US and Canada, and some other governmental benefits if you are a citizen of another country.
- It may be easier for your child to get accommodations from public schools if they have an official celiac diagnosis.
- Celiac is a hereditary condition, so it is very helpful information to pass along to your family members if you get an official diagnosis.
- Celiac Disease Tests: Diagnosing Celiac Disease Requires Blood Tests and Biopsy by Nancy Lapid
- Symptoms of celiac disease and Who should be tested
University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
- Tax Deduction for Gluten-Free Foods as a Medical Expense for Diagnosed Celiacs Only by Scot Adams (This article is a few years old, but appears to still be accurate.)
Point of View #2
It’s not necessarily needed to be tested before going Gluten Free – and here are some reasons why:
- You should get off of gluten right away if it causes you or your child discomfort.
- You’ve already been gluten free for a while and feel much better. Does it really matter if you have celiac as long as you are planning to stay Gluten Free anyway?
- Many people are happy and healthy just figuring out what foods they react to and eliminating them. No diagnosis of any kind needed.
- If you write the diagnosis of Celiac on an insurance form, you are branded with a pre-existing condition, which in the current insurance climate, is still an issue.
- You are not ill, but have heard good things about what a Gluten Free diet may do for you, so you just want to give it a try.
Again- nothing here is a recommendation or advice. These are only reasons people have posted on our Facebook page to support their decision to be tested or not prior to beginning their Gluten Free lifestyle and to help you think through the issues before you try going Gluten Free.