If you would like to know how the NHS diagnoses Coeliac Disease visit this link http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Coeliac-disease/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx
Here I will share with you the process in which I was diagnosed. I will try not to sound as if I am ranting about the NHS because I believe in the good the NHS does, I will however tell you the truth whether that be positive or negative.
I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) about 3 years ago and was given prescription tablets to combat the pain – I believe this is a very common misdiagnosis to Coeliac. However once I had been back to the doctors a few times to explain how the tablets were not having an effect on me I was sent for a blood test for Coeliac Disease. Since I had never heard of it before I immediately went home and googled it and pretty much convinced myself I had it since I had all of the symptoms. I received a letter about a week later asking me to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss my results, so I did. To my surprise I was told that my results were negative and I did not have Coeliac Disease and was instead put on different tablets for IBS (Colpermin Peppermint Oil). Now I should have been happy but I just didn’t believe it as I was so convinced that I had Coeliac Disease
Months past and each month I would make a doctor’s appointment to get my prescription of IBS tablets. At my local doctors surgery it is very difficult to get an appointment and is used as a training centre – meaning that I never see the same doctor twice. After seeing 3 different doctors the forth one had another look at my blood results I had 4 months earlier and yes told me that my results has actually shown signs of Coeliac Disease. That doctor then put me forward for a hospital appointment with a Gastroenterologist.
2 months later I went for my appointment (which lasted approx. 10mins), met with a lovely Gastroenterologist who asked me a few simple questions. The questions consisted of my symptoms, anything I wanted to know about Coeliac Disease and explained to me the procedure of a Gastroscopy which would be the only way to know for certain if it is in fact Coeliac Disease. So I was booked in a month later for the procedure.
A Gastroscopy is small operation whereby a long thin tube with a camera is inserted through the mouth and into the small intestine. From this they can then see if there is any damage in the intestine and also take biopsy’s to have tested in the lab. I am not going to lie, it is not the most pleasurable of experiences and you can choose if you would like to be sedated throughout the procedure or not. I opted to go in awake as ironically I am quite squeamish and the thought of needles and oxygen tubes freaked me out even more!
So….another month passed, yes it was a very long and frustrating process but I finally received the results confirming Coeliac Disease. I received the results by a letter in the post and as a form of rebellion immediately made myself some pasta ‘n’ sauce knowing that it would be the last time I would enjoy my favourite meal.
Although I was pleased that I finally had my diagnosis it was terrifying not knowing what to do next. This was were the Coeliac UK charity was very helpful. The website includes lots of information to get you started and there are local support groups available to help you alter your lifestyle. Going to my first local support meeting (Solihull) was very overwhelming especially since I was the youngest person there, but speaking to people in the same situation was very helpful. It was here that I learned of other complications that come along with Coeliac Disease such as calcium and iron deficiency, lactose intolerance and bone problems such as Osteoporosis.
Check out my page on further complications for my experiences after I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease.