A medical history, physical exam, and lab tests often point to celiac disease. The diagnosis is confirmed with a small intestine biopsy collected during an endoscopy, 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
- IgAtTG: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibody.
- IgAEMA: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antiendomysial antibody (EMA).
If the results of these tests are unclear, other antibody tests may be done.
A biopsy taken during an 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.
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:
- Bone density testBone density test. This may be done to see if you have problems such as osteomalacia (known as rickets in children) or osteoporosis, which may develop in some people with celiac disease.
Tests to look for 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 prepare your child for these tests. Knowing why tests are being done and what to expect can help make the tests less scary.