Biopsy for accurate diagnosis of Coeliac Disease. (ultimately – for your encouragement!)

Also known as gastroscopy or endoscopy/duodenal biopsy – I thought it might be important to mention that I did actually have this done! However, because I was away from home and had other important things happening when my initial blood test results came through, I started eating gluten-free without giving any thought to having a biopsy at that point. I was focused on my daughter and her health above all else, and  it just didn’t occur to me that later on down the track I would wish I had also addressed my own situation much sooner.
A number of months later (aka the following year) I decided that I should have the biopsy … mainly because I always like to be certain about things, and also because I was curious to know my actual internal state. I knew I would have to go back on gluten containing foods for this and had been told (by my doctor!) it would only be for a couple of weeks – which I thought would not be an issue! I reasoned I would make the most of it and eat/enjoy all those things I had missed. Ha! What WAS I thinking?!!  And – when I actually found out about the appointment…I learned I had to go back on gluten containing foods for 4 weeks! Suffice to say, it was a torturous month for me symptom wise, and by the time my appointment came around I was just longing for it to be over and to be able to go gluten-free again…not fully realizing how much I had set myself back by subjecting myself to this experience at this late stage in the proceedings.

Moral of my story:
If you have had a blood test that indicates you might have Coeliac Disease and you want it verified – don’t go gluten-free until you have also had a gastroscopy. Your doctor will sort it for you.  
You do have a choice not to have the biopsy.  It is entirely up to you. (I ask myself now, why I needed to know!!!)

For your part, if you choose to have the biopsy done,  you must ensure that nothing passes your lips for 6 hours prior to the procedure being carried out, unless you have medications that you must take. You are allowed to keep taking these usually, although in certain instances notification of drugs must be declared in case there is an issue. When you go for the procedure you will need someone to be available to bring you home. All this info will be given to you in written form prior to the day of your appointment. You get plenty of time to read this at home, and ask any questions prior to the day of your biopsy.

For my part, I had no trouble whatsoever with the biopsy – it was the period leading up to it that caused me the grief! (ie eating food that was toxic to my system in this period). At the hospital I was shown to a bed where I put on the lovely gown (?!) and was administered an IV drip because I had requested sedation (I am not ashamed!).

I do remember being wheeled into the procedure room and being told the procedure might be slightly uncomfortable. I can’t remember having the sedation or for that matter anything else! I woke 45 mins later back where I had started. It was really weird. I actually wondered what had happened to me in that time. I have no recall whatsoever! I started to doubt that anything had even been done. I had no sore throat. I was just a bit drowsy and went home to sleep it off.
And later, when my results came through… I could see the damage that had been done over the years!
In conclusion….this is the bit I understood, ’these features are consistent with the clinical impression of coeliac disease, modified Marsh Classification type 3b diagnosis.’

Ok, so my doctor WAS right! I DID have Coeliac Disease!