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You took an Everlywell Celiac Disease Screening Test — now what?

Whether you’re the friend who’s notorious for blowing up the group chat with their stomach problem chronicles or you just started noticing symptoms after eating gluten, we’re glad you chose Everlywell to help understand whether celiac disease may be affecting your health. By taking our Celiac Disease Screening Test, you’re taking the first step towards gaining clarity on whether the autoimmune condition is what’s causing you distress.

So, here’s how we fit in: When you have celiac disease and ingest gluten, your immune system may react by releasing the antibodies tTG-IgA and DGP-IgG, which cause inflammation and result in damage to your small intestine. Our Celiac Disease Screening Test is used to determine whether or not those antibodies are present, which could be the first step on the road to diagnosis.

If you’ve already taken your celiac disease screening test and are awaiting your results, you may be wondering what happens next. If your results show an indeterminate or increased risk of celiac disease, a member of our patient care department will reach out to you to provide you with answers to commonly asked questions and help you prepare for next steps with your healthcare provider.

It's important to call out that only a healthcare provider or specialist can diagnose celiac disease. This is done by reviewing your medical history, discussing symptoms, and performing additional tests when necessary. To further explain the possible next steps depending on your Everlywell results, we connected with Dr. Brett Mendel, MD, of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates.

Below, Dr. Mendel answers all the questions you may have around what happens next so you’ll be ready to take action on your symptoms.

Antibodies indicating celiac disease showed up on my results. What do I need to do now?

Dr. Mendel: Patients should schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss further evaluation, which will likely include an upper endoscopy to evaluate the small intestine for signs of inflammation.

Is there any other information I should share with my healthcare provider?

Dr. Mendel: Your provider will want to know more about your health history as well as family history. Any symptoms you are experiencing will also be important to pass on to your provider.

Some symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexpected weight loss

What are some of the testing methods a healthcare provider will use for diagnosing celiac disease?

Dr. Mendel: An upper endoscopy is the recommended test to follow up a positive blood test for celiac disease. There are a few exceptions to this recommendation, and it’s recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider to further discuss follow up testing.

When during the testing journey should I start implementing a gluten free diet?

Dr. Mendel: A gluten free diet should not be started until after testing is completed. Eating a gluten free diet may lower the sensitivity of tests to detect celiac disease.

(NOTE: If you’re not currently eating a gluten-containing diet or have not eaten gluten-containing foods in the last three months, you’ll want to consult with your healthcare provider for guidance before adding gluten back into your diet for testing with the Everlywell Celiac Screening Test or any other test.)

What does follow-up care look like for someone with celiac disease?

Dr. Mendel: Once a diagnosis of celiac disease has been made, follow up care will typically include discussing a gluten free diet with your healthcare provider. It may also be beneficial to schedule a visit with a nutritionist for guidance. You will need to be checked for nutritional deficiencies, and your bone health should also be evaluated. Fortunately, about 90% of patients respond well to a gluten free diet. If symptoms do not improve, you will need to continue to work with your provider.

If my screening test comes back not showing the presence of antibodies associated with celiac disease but I’m experiencing symptoms, what should I do?

Dr. Mendel: If celiac screening is negative, but you feel your symptoms are related to gluten intake, it may have something called “non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” This is considered a food sensitivity that is not well understood. Food sensitivity testing can be a way to evaluate if the body responds to certain dietary factors, and can be a great way to begin discussions with your healthcare provider.

Is it possible that antibodies don’t show on a screening test, but you may still have celiac disease?

Dr. Mendel: It can be possible for a person to have celiac disease, but have a negative test for antibodies. The sensitivity of the test can be affected by the amount of gluten in a person's diet. If someone is eating a gluten free diet, they may very well test negative for celiac disease, but still have the autoimmune condition. If you test negative for celiac disease, but you are still concerned you may have it, you should consult with your healthcare provider to discuss further testing options.

Wondering if the Celiac Disease Screening Test is right for you? If you experience symptoms like abdominal bloating or pain, constipation or diarrhea, excessive gas, nausea or vomiting, or unexpected weight loss when eating foods that contain gluten, the Everlywell Celiac Disease Screening Test can help measure whether or not you have antibodies that may indicate celiac disease.

Screening for these antibodies can be a helpful first step in determining whether celiac disease may be affecting your health. Head here to shop our at-home lab test and learn more about celiac disease.

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