Coeliac disease

This is a permanent allergy to gluten in the diet. If untreated, the disease may cause osteoporosis (thinning of the bones due to calcium deficiency). A blood sample may be taken to look for special proteins or antibodies (anti-transglutaminase) that develop in patients with untreated coeliac disease. Alternatively, the most effective diagnosis requires taking small samples from the small intestine at upper gi endoscopy and looking at these under a microscope. This condition can be managed effectively in the majority of patients by sticking to a 100% gluten-free diet indefinitely.

The diagnosis may be considered in people with iron deficiency anaemia or in those with recurrent abdominal bloating, loose stools or weight loss. It may cause osteoporosis (thinning of the bones due to calcium deficiency) if untreated.

It is more common in individuals with a first degree relative (ie a parent or sibling) with the condition.

In patients with symptoms suggestive of coeliac disease a blood sample may be taken to look for special proteins or antibodies (anti-transglutaminase) that develop in patients with untreated coeliac disease. These are accurate in most cases (about 90%) but the “gold standard” diagnosis requires taking small samples from the small intestine at upper gi endoscopy and looking at these under a microscope to look for the characteristic signs of villous atrophy or shrinking of the finger-like processes that line the small intestine.

Advice on gluten free diet is best obtained from a local state-registered dietician. Your GP (or a consultant gastroenterologist) will be able to make a referral for this advice if required.

Gluten Free Diet for Coeliac Disease


If you have been recently diagnosed with Coeliac disease (or know of anyone who has), it is important to book an assessment with a registered Dietitian, who will provide you with dietary advice and a nutrition plan.

Most people understand that they must avoid gluten, but having a comprehensive assessment will provide you with greater understanding, giving you the confidence to manage your diet at home, when eating out or while travelling.

The first step towards managing a gluten free diet is being able to identify gluten in whole and processed foods as an ingredient or additive. The second step is to understand what you can have to replace gluten, so that you are not missing out on any important sources of energy (e.g. carbohydrates). The third step is to appreciate what nutrients you need to pay particular attention to (e.g. calcium, iron, vitamins D and B)

Finally, you will gain awareness of certain practical issues regarding the management of a gluten free diet, such as avoiding cross contamination, and planning an overall balanced diet to ensure you are having the correct servings from all of the different food groups. For example, we pay attention to fibre and added sugar (since gluten free products can often be low in fibre and high in sugar).


At Digestive Health City & Docklands, we work hard to provide our patients with top-class care. You will enjoy friendly, fast and modern treatment by a highly experienced gastroenterologist. We carefully review patient satisfaction and feedback, and at Digestive Health we are continuously making improvements to our services, ensuring the highest level of care possible.

Clinic Location

City Practice
120 Old Broad Street, City, EC2N 1AR

For all enquiries
0203 875 9989

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