There are a few of us in the Delicious Alchemy office who know a thing or two about the rollercoaster ride that is getting your coeliac disease diagnosis. It can be a long and sometimes frustrating journey, but stick with it. Fighting to get the right diagnosis could be the best thing you ever do.
Don't go on a gluten free diet
Yep, really. Even if you’ve tried a gluten free diet and feel better for it, it’s not as simple as that. It’s all to do with how the test works. The tests will need to know what gluten does to your body to be conclusive. So stick with the gluten until you’ve had all your tests.
Be prepared to fight for a diagnosis
Undiagnosed and untreated coeliac disease can have various, serious health implications. There are long term risks of pernicious anemia and osteoporosis – and additionally diabetes and thyroiditis may come along for the ride.
All these things can be addressed once you have been diagnosed but GPs will not readily consider them as factors affecting your overall health unless you already have a diagnosis of coeliac disease in place.
Don’t stress about the tests
Okay, the bowel tests are an unpleasant part of diagnosis, but they are not worth getting stressed about. We’ve always found the consultants and nurses extremely understanding, professional and capable. And remember, they’ve seen it all before, hundreds of times.
If you’re having an endoscopy or colonoscopy, be kind to yourself and have a day off before the tests too, or opt to work from home. You’ll be fasting and simultaneously taking strong laxatives to clear your bowels. It’s worth taking this time to stock up on a few things you’ll need:
While fasting, you are only allowed to drink clear fluids. Buy plenty of Lucozade glucose drink that will keep your energy levels up and your brain fed! Without this boost you could suffer from a ‘foggy head’, lethargy, headaches and a lack of balance.
Top tip: Don’t buy the Hydroactive variety as this doesn’t contain much glucose.
Make a great veggie broth.
It will keep you going, it’s really healthy, packed with vitamins and you can have it when you’re fasting – plus it’s really easy to make!
Just simmer a large selection of vegetables in water for a minimum of two hours in order to boil all the goodness out of them. Then strain and discard the vegetable matter, leaving just the clear broth liquid. Just make sure no vegetable skins are still in the broth!
This is our favourite recipe for broth. It’s quick to make, just wash them and roughly chop them.
3-4 sticks of celery
1 clove of garlic
2 small onions
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 litres of water
Stock up with ready-made meals
After the tests, you’ll be starving and low on energy. So it’s best to make yourself plenty of food in advance. It may sound like a pain, but take it from us, you’ll love yourself for making the effort ahead of time.
Take the sedation
You don’t need to tough it out. Opt for the sedation if you possibly can. It will relax you during the procedures and make the whole experience seem shorter and less onerous. Of course, sedation means you will not be able to drive home, so ask a friend or relative to pick you up or plan for a taxi to collect you.
Stop the iron tablets before the tests
Finally, if you are supplementing your diet with iron tablets, don’t forget to stop taking them 7 days before the test.