My dear, late grandfather suffered from coeliac disease and my dad was diagnosed nearly 25 years ago. My siblings and I were each tested for the disease as children and were given the all-clear. In 2005/2006, I became increasingly unwell with coeliac-like symptoms and by August 2006, I had been away from university for six weeks straight, very weak, unwell and unhappy. After seeing me so unwell for some time and having suffered the same symptoms himself for many years, my dad suggested eliminating gluten from my diet.
At the time, it was several weeks until my gastroscopy was scheduled with our gastroenterologist, and I was just desperate to feel better – I was up to my neck in assignments/study in my final semester of my science degree and had been off work for several weeks. Within just a few days of consuming no gluten, my health improved quickly. After a few weeks, I felt fantastic.
I underwent my gastroscopy as scheduled and our gastroenterologist said although my blood test in recent weeks had shown positive for coeliac disease and my biopsy results showed I am very much gluten intolerant, they could not officially diagnose me with coeliac disease as I had avoided gluten in the weeks leading up to my test (which can result in a false-positive).
With the advice of our gastroenterologist, my family and I determined that it did not make sense to reverse my new diet in order to undergo another gastroscopy to find out whether or not I was officially coeliac, for a number of reasons:
- primarily, my family history of coeliac disease
- my positive blood test results
- my biopsy results showed I am clearly gluten intolerant, and
- my health had returned to “normal” since avoiding gluten entirely, and I was able to get on with life.
So, since August 2006, I have followed a strict gluten-free diet – I do not consume any gluten at all, a very small amount is enough to make me unwell for weeks on end, similar to my father. When I eat out, I always say I am “coeliac” as opposed to “gluten-intolerant”. This is to cover all bases, thanks to being “poisoned” with gluten a number of times when introducing myself as “gluten-intolerant” – not fun!
***PLEASE NOTE: This is SOLELY my personal experience. I am not a healthcare professional and by NO MEANS suggest you or someone you know follow the above. If you suspect you have coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or otherwise, I strongly suggest you consult your doctor.