How is gluten sensitivity diagnosed?

Dr. Amy E. Myers, MD
Family Practitioner

One way to diagnose gluten sensitivity is a blood test that checks for reactions to gliadin; another is to do an elimination diet. Watch as functional medicine specialist Amy Myers, MD, explains some methods to test for gluten sensitivity.

Since there is currently no blood test for gluten sensitivity, the only way to be diagnosed is to undergo the screening and diagnostic tests required to confirm celiac disease. A diagnosis of gluten sensitivity is confirmed when you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or wheat allergy but your symptoms diminish after starting a gluten-free diet, followed by a return of symptoms when gluten is reintroduced into your diet.

Important: Do not self-diagnose. If you think you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, talk to your doctor about testing before you start a gluten-free diet. This is the only way to ensure accurate test results and protect your long-term health.

Nancee Jaffe, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

There is no test to diagnose gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that doctors rule out celiac disease and wheat allergy first. They will then put you on a gluten-free diet. If you get better, they will put gluten back in your diet, and if you get worse again, you will be diagnosed with gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is a food intolerance. An intolerance means that the symptoms that occur do not involve an immune response in the body. Doctors don't really understand why someone might have a reaction to a food. The mechanism is not understood at this point in time, unfortunately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.