Coeliac disease diagnosis and what happens next
The day I was diagnosed with coeliac disease was one of the best days ever. The reason why I think so is that finally someone listened to my problems, didn’t send me home or told me to avoid stress. For the first time in 8 years, I feel positive about my health and know what to do to avoid feeling ill.
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body reacts to gluten. It’s a genetic condition and can develop any time in your life, usually triggered by a specific event. In my case I believe that it was caused by a bad stomach bug 8 years ago, followed by severe and long-term stress. From that time I don’t remember a day where I didn’t experience certain symptoms such as bowel issues, stomach cramps, bloating and nausea. I saw my GP on a regular basis to discuss what I’m experiencing and I was simply told ‘IBS’ and to follow a low-fodmap diet. Did it help? No, which resulted in me sitting in that same chair again at the doctor’s surgery. I was finally referred for an endoscopy which didn’t end to well and resulted in no correct results. Did they continue searching what caused me to feel ill? No. Now 8 years later and I finally received a diagnosis. It’s very common that coeliac disease gets wrongly diagnosed with IBS because the symptoms are very similar. However, 1 in 100 people have the condition.
How did I get diagnosed with coeliac disease?
I’ve been suffering from knee pain for several months now which has increasingly been getting worse over the last few months. After a while of struggling to walk up the stairs, walking or bending my knee for longer periods I knew that something was wrong. Made a doctors appointment and whilst I discussed my knee pain with the GP, she read my file and asked about my anaemia. I’ve suffered from low iron for a while now but never knew why. The GP instantly changed the conversation and continued to ask me more questions about my iron, stomach and overall well-being. That day I blood tests done for a lot of different questions and a week later I had the official diagnosis: coeliac disease. Sitting at the doctor’s surgery and being told that the reason why I always feel so exhausted, tired and in pain is caused by eating gluten was a relief and joy. Knowing that there really is something wrong with me lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and made me happy. I finally have an answer.
The knee pain is a symptom of coeliac disease and so are many more things that I experience. Mouth ulcers, constantly feeling hungry, exhaustion, tiredness, fatigue, pain, bowel issues, nausea, cramps, headaches and even a rush on my thighs.
I received the diagnosis from blood tests, but the next step is an endoscopy to access the damage that has been done to my gut. However, for the endoscopy to be accurate I will have to continue eating gluten until then. The main issue with that is the emotional aspect for me. Whenever I eat something and feel sick, it’s because I technically made myself ill by eating gluten. It’s tough but necessary.