Celiac disease care at Mayo Clinic

Celiac disease can be confused with other digestive disorders. At Mayo Clinic, you will find the expertise and latest imaging and laboratory tools to accurately identify the source of your problem and to design treatment plans.

Celiac disease can also cause complications such as osteoporosis, neurological disease, infertility and intestinal cancer. Specialists at Mayo Clinic work together to give you rapid access to the expertise needed to solve your problem. Your treatment team includes dietitians with expertise in celiac disease who can help you learn to live gluten-free.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic, doctors and dietitians work closely with you to help you learn to live gluten-free. Mayo dietitians help you find gluten-free substitutes and give advice on reading food labels and eating out safely. If you have dermatitis herpetiformis, your treatment team will include a dermatologist.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic is a leading center for diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease. Mayo Clinic doctors often test for celiac disease in people considered at risk for it, including:

  • Family members of people with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis — an itchy, blistering skin condition that stems from intestinal gluten intolerance
  • People with chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, type 1 diabetes, premature bone disease or infertility
  • People with Down syndrome or Turner syndrome

Doctors will test for celiac disease using a combination of blood tests and endoscopy.

  • Serology testing looks for antibodies in your blood. Elevated levels of certain antibody proteins indicate an immune reaction to gluten.
  • Endoscopy. If your blood tests indicate celiac disease, your doctor may order an endoscopy to view your small intestine and to take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to analyze for damage to the villi.
  • Capsule endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your entire small intestine. The camera sits inside a vitamin-sized capsule, which you swallow. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, the camera takes thousands of pictures that are transmitted to a recorder.

In addition, Mayo specialists may recommend genetic testing for celiac disease if:

  • Your blood test is negative but a biopsy indicates damage to the tiny hair-like projections that line the small intestine (villi)
  • You started a gluten-free diet before having a blood test for celiac disease
  • Your disease has not responded to a gluten-free diet and it's uncertain whether celiac disease is the cause

Celiac disease has symptoms similar to other digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn's disease, parasite infections and anemia. Mayo Clinic specialists have broad expertise in digestive diseases, and will test you for other conditions if you test negative for celiac disease.

At Mayo Clinic, people with celiac disease are monitored closely for intestinal healing. When diet alone isn't effective, doctors prescribe medications, including steroids and immune-system suppressors, to control intestinal swelling and malabsorption of nutrients.

Aug. 17, 2016
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