How long do I need to eat gluten for in order for the NHS coeliac blood test to 'work'?

I have been seeing a dietician and I am definitely gluten intolerant, possibly coeliac. I have taken gluten out of my diet and feel better, when I out it back in I feel worse.

If I am to get a firm diagnosis (or to dismiss Coeliac) I will need to need to get an NHS Coeliac blood test via my GP. It would mean going back onto gluten for a while - which is not a thought I relish.

How long would I need to eat gluten for in order for the Coeliac antibodies to be picked up by the NHS blood test?

4 Replies

  • You will need to be including gluten in your diet for at least six weeks to get a true reflection of what is going on. Also, be prepared for a negative blood test! Then you would have to have an endoscopy, which would mean continuing to eat gluten. I found it a very long and painful road, but worth it just for peace of mind. Gluten free for 5 years now and feel a totally different person. Hang on in there.

  • 6 weeks is what my Dr said too but I declined the offer. I feel so dreadful with gluten in my diet and so much pain that I am not going back to that even if I don't get a firm diagnosis as the outcome is the same. My Dr said that she was pretty sure I was coeliac even without the official test due to symptoms and being very allergic to grasses on the skin test. Sadly she didn't have gluten to test that on the day she did the testing. I'm due to see a specialist at the end of the month for an endoscopy regardless as I have severe gastritis.

  • I had a negative blood test but all the other symptoms indicate coeliac. I saw my consultant and he insisted on a 3 month gluten diet before he will do the endoscopy! Appointment is on September 9th and I can't wait. Good luck. I believe it will be worth it but only you know what you can put up with and what you're hoping to achieve

  • The definitive NICE statement is approx 6 slices of bread daily for 6 weeks (bread has the highest gluten content) as in numerous tests it is the most accurate.

    I didn't eat gluten that long for my gluten challenge as I had been so ill for such a long time - maybe a total and had a result of Marsh 3c on the endoscopy. I actually wish I hadn't done the gluten challenge as I became lactose intolerant afterwards (and gastro said it was due to the further damage to my villi).

    I think I would always ask someone - do you need a clinical diagnosis?

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