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Ask the Doc: Are there different levels of celiac disease?

Posted on August 5th, 2010 by Alison Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

questionmarkgreen1.jpg Q. I was just recently diagnosed with celiac disease after a positive biopsy last week.  I don’t get real sick, other than bloating and gassy.  Those were my only symptoms.  My question is, are there different levels of celiac disease?  If I go to a restaurant and ask for gluten free foods, but they happen to get cross contaminated with something containing wheat, rye or barley, am I at that serious of a risk by dining there since I don’t get the diarrhea and vomiting, etc.?  It’s been real hard on my family and me trying to dine out at a restaurant who has a true understanding of celiac sprue.

A. Ask your doctor to obtain the Marsh classification of your biopsy. The higher the class, the longer it will take to heal on a gluten-free diet. Symptoms often do not correlate with the level of biopsy abnormality.  Those who have been diagnosed with celiac and have their biopsies return to normal — Marsh 0 — will develop damage after being exposed to 7 grams of gluten, or about the amount in a slice of bread. I hope this helps.

Health and happiness,
Dr. Aron

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  1. Dr. Aron,
    Diagnosed celiac disease three months ago by GI doc, she said no need for biopsy, I definitely have it. Been to numerous docs for six years with celiac symptoms and low left side pain that radiates to groin. This left side pain seems to come with my cycle like at ovulation, its an achey, burning, stinging feeling that last a few days then goes away only to return next month. I am 50 and perimenapausal. Noone can tell me what this left side pain is though started with celiac symptoms, any ideas? Colonoscopy was good. Thank you!

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