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Talking to Your Doctor About Celiac Disease

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with celiac disease. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Celiac Disease

  • How common is it?
  • How serious is it?

About Your Risk of Getting Celiac Disease

  • People in my family have celiac disease, but I have never had symptoms. Should I be tested?
  • I have celiac disease. Should my children be tested?
  • If celiac disease does not run in my family, can I still get it?

About Treatment Options

  • What treatments are available if a gluten-free diet does not help me?
  • Do I need medicines?
  • What benefits and side effects should I expect from medicines?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Is there a chance that at some point I may be able to eat some gluten-containing foods again?
  • Where can I buy gluten-free foods?
  • Are there any alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free?
  • What if I eat a gluten-containing food by mistake?
  • Do I need the help of a dietitian? If so, can you refer me to one?
  • What do I need to know before eating out?
  • How can I eat when I am away from home?

About Outlook

  • Other than maintaining a gluten-free diet, can I live a normal lifestyle?
  • If I maintain a gluten-free diet, can I avoid health problems from the disease?
REFERENCES:

Caio G, Volta U, et al. Celiac disease: a comprehensive current review. BMC Med. 2019 Jul 23;17(1):142.

Celiac disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/celiac-disease. Accessed January 4, 2021.

Celiac disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/malabsorption-syndromes/celiac-disease. Accessed January 4, 2021.

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed January 4, 2021.

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 1/5/2021