Chronic Diarrhea & Gluten Allergies: Can An Endoscopy Diagnose Celiac Disease?

Diagnosing Celiac With Endoscopy

Triggered by gluten, celiac disease is a serious autoimmune condition affecting 1 in every 100 people worldwide. Symptoms of celiac disease include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and bloating. If the condition is not well controlled, long-term effects, including a doubling of the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), can occur. To properly manage a gluten allergy, the patient needs to have a formal diagnosis of celiac disease. With endoscopy, a doctor can take a detailed look at the digestive tract and biopsy the area to confirm the presence of the disease.

Understanding GI upset

Most people have experienced the occasional gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Whether from bad food, a night of drinking too much, or a stomach virus, occasional diarrhea and bloating can occur. However, when such symptoms are persistent or triggered by certain foods, the patient should investigate further.

Testing for celiac

If the doctor suspects celiac disease is the cause of GI upset, blood work will be ordered. Serology testing can look for antibodies in the blood that indicate an immune reaction to gluten. The doctor may also order genetic testing to confirm the presence of specific genes associated with celiac disease. Although blood work is a helpful first step, a positive finding should be confirmed with endoscopy before a formal diagnosis of celiac disease is made.

What is endoscopy?

A non-surgical procedure called an endoscopy can be performed to take a more detailed look at the digestive tract. During an endoscopy, the doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera, called an endoscope, to look at the throat, stomach, and intestines. Once the patient is under anesthesia, the endoscope is guided down the throat and into the small intestine. The camera allows the medical team to visualize the area and take samples of the site for a biopsy. Endoscopy is considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of celiac disease.

Positive for celiac

Although the doctor may be able to offer some preliminary information based on what was seen during the endoscopy, the biopsy results typically take a few days to come back. If positive, the patient is said to have celiac disease. Treatment of the disease involves switching to a strict gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, which means foods like bread, bagels, pasta, pretzels, cookies, cakes, and crackers are off the table. Nowadays, however, many delicious gluten-free options are available. People with celiac disease should check the labels to ensure a product is gluten-free before purchasing.

The endo chronic diarrhea

Symptoms of a gluten allergy can interfere with everyday life, causing pain and discomfort. An endoscopy is a quick procedure capable of diagnosing celiac disease. If a positive result is received, a gluten-free diet should be maintained to manage the condition properly.


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