Dr Brad McKay from Embarrassing Bodies Down Under explains everything you need to know about coeliac disease.
1in 100 people in Australia have coeliac disease. 75% of them don't even realise that they have it. That means that there's about 160 thousand people in Australia with coeliac disease undiagnosed. Coeliac disease is a problem with gluten. If you eat gluten and it goes into your gut, your body forms a reaction thinking that it's something that needs to be destroyed. So instead of your bowel absorbing the gluten as it should do, it ends up having an inflammatory reaction and then this can lead to lots of bloating, diarrhoea and lots of abdominal cramping.
The main foods that gluten are in are barley, oats, wheat and rye. So breads, pastas, breakfast cereals as well can all be problem foods.
One of the tests for coeliac disease is a blood test. It's very simple and you can find out quite quickly if you've got the antibodies for coeliac disease. A gastroscopy will also confirm whether you have Coeliac disease. This involves putting a camera into your mouth, down into your stomach and then poking into the first part of your small bowel. They take a little biopsy from that area to see if you have coeliac disease.
If you do have coleiac disease it can increase your chances of having cancers and so your intestines will need monitoring of over time. Even if you're having a little bit of gluten, it can still inflame your gut and cause significant symptoms. So if you're just trying but half heartedly trying to restrict gluten from your diet, it's not the best thing to do that. It's good to have a definite diagnosis and then know that we're doing exactly the right thing for you.
With coeliac disease, we would advise cutting gluten out of the diet. To do that effectively it's best to see a dietician and have some guidance with the food to cut out. Also it's important to see a gastroenterologist and we will often do a test afterwards to make sure that your bowel's recovering after being on a period of the diet.