Is a gluten-free diet right for you? Celiac disease symptoms and testing

February 7, 2024

Gluten-free diets are more popular than ever with grocery store shelves stocked full of gluten-free bread, pasta and baked goods. For people with celiac disease, following a strict gluten-free diet is essential, while for others, it may be an unnecessary hassle and expense or a lifestyle choice.


So, how do you know if you really have celiac disease? Understanding symptoms and getting the right medical testing can provide answers.


What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. In individuals with celiac disease, the autoimmune reaction to gluten prevents proper absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, which can lead to malnourishment and other health problems.


About 1 in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease, which can develop at any age and is more common in women. It often runs in families as well. If a diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed, a strict gluten-free diet for life is essential to maintain good health.


Recognizing celiac disease symptoms

Celiac disease affects people differently. There are over 200 symptoms associated with celiac disease,  and some people have no symptoms at all. Many of the symptoms are nonspecific or intermittent, making them even more difficult to interpret. Here are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas, bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability
  • Headaches or migraines


Understanding my digestive health: Celiac disease, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity


Getting tested for celiac disease

Since celiac disease symptoms can look like a variety of other conditions, a test like Labcorp OnDemand’s Celiac Disease Antibody Test can provide valuable information. To ensure the accuracy of results, this screening blood test is intended for those who have not yet begun a gluten-free diet. If results indicate the possibility of celiac disease, your healthcare provider can help with further evaluation. Ultimately, celiac disease is diagnosed with a small bowel biopsy. Screening for celiac disease allows you to pursue further evaluation with your healthcare provider if needed and to make informed decisions about your diet.  


Purchase the Labcorp OnDemand Celiac Disease Antibody Test and talk to your healthcare provider about whether following a gluten-free diet is truly right for your health.