Obtaining a definite diagnosis of coeliac disease can be a complex process.

It should be noted that simply trialling a gluten-free diet is not sufficient to diagnose coeliac disease and can be counter-productive to definite diagnosis. A coeliac sufferer who has been living on a completely gluten-free diet for a period of time prior to testing will return a negative result for the tests, even though the person has active coeliac disease.

The first stage of diagnosis is the coeliac blood test. A positive result on this test confirms that the patient has the genetic pre-requisites to develop coeliac disease at some stage during their life. It does not indicate that the patient has active coeliac disease. In order to confirm active coeliac disease, a gastroscopy is required.

Gastroscopy is a procedure during which a medical device called an endoscope (containing video equipment and equipment for taking biopsies – small core samples of the tissues lining the bowel) is inserted through the mouth and down into the small bowel. Gastroscopy requires hospitalisation and is generally undertaken as a day procedure. Once the gastroscopy is complete, the bowel biopsies are analysed in the laboratory to confirm that damage to the lining of the bowel has occurred – confirmation that the patient has active coeliac disease.

Definitive diagnosis of coeliac disease is usually completed by a second biopsy after approximately one year of living on a gluten free diet. This biopsy will confirm that the damage to the lining of the bowel has been repaired during that period.

At this time there is no drug therapy which will cure or suppress coeliac disease. The only effective treatment of coeliac disease is for the patient to adopt a diet which is 100% gluten free for life. Once the patient has been living on this diet for a period of time (usually at least a year) the damage to the bowel is repaired and the risks to long-term health associated with coeliac disease are greatly reduced.

The Silly Yaks range of products is developed specifically for people with coeliac disease and is 100% wheat free and 100% gluten free. We manufacture and pack our products in an environment which is 100% gluten free and wheat free. Used to replace traditional wheat-based products as part of a balanced diet, the Silly Yaks range can assist in the long-term management of coeliac disease.

Disclaimer: The information about coeliac disease and associated conditions provided here is of a general nature and is intended as background information only. It is not intended as medical or dietary advice. If you think that you may have coeliac disease you should consult your doctor for medical advice and you should consult a qualified dietician for advice on maintaining a 100% gluten free diet.