Exams and Tests
A medical history, physical exam, and lab tests often point to celiac disease. The diagnosis is confirmed with a small intestine Reference biopsy Opens New Window collected during an Reference endoscopy Opens New Window, where a small tube is guided down a person's throat to the small intestine.
Tests for celiac disease should be done when you or your child is still eating a diet that includes gluten. If you have already started a gluten-free diet before these tests are done, the doctor may suggest that you or your child eat a certain amount of gluten before the tests.
Blood antibody tests
Celiac disease triggers the immune system to produce certain Reference antibodies Opens New Window. Blood tests that find and measure these antibodies include:
- IgAtTG: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibody.
- IgAEMA: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antiendomysial antibody (EMA).
A biopsy taken during an Reference upper gastrointestinal endoscopy may be done to confirm celiac disease after antibodies have been found. Sometimes a biopsy detects celiac disease when a person is being tested for another condition.
If the biopsy shows signs of celiac disease (such as abnormal villi and inflammation in the small intestine), a Reference gluten-free diet will be recommended.
A diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed if the diet makes symptoms go away and if antibody tests become normal.
Other tests that may be done include:
- Blood tests, such as:
- Reference Bone density test. This may be done to see if you have problems such as Reference osteomalacia Opens New Window (known as Reference rickets Opens New Window in children) or Reference osteoporosis Opens New Window, which may develop in some people with celiac disease.
Tests to look for Reference other conditions and diseases may be needed if a diagnosis of celiac disease is suspected but symptoms don't improve with a gluten-free diet.
You can Reference prepare your child for these tests. Knowing why tests are being done and what to expect can help make the tests less scary.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 29, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jerry S. Trier, MD - Gastroenterology