Lonestar Gastroenterology

Confirm Your Celiac Disease Diagnosis with a Capsule Endoscopy

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Confirm Your Celiac Disease Diagnosis with a Capsule Endoscopy

Food is vital to health, but millions can’t eat certain foods. Celiac disease is a condition worse than a regular food intolerance but is treatable and starts with diagnosis using tests like a capsule endoscopy.

What you eat is vital for how your body processes nutrients and how much energy you have, but millions of people have problems digesting various foods. Research shows an estimated 33 million people in America alone deal with food allergies for over 170 different types of things we eat, with many of them being healthy choices, such as fish, eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, and sesame.

Celiac disease is a form of food intolerance that affects your ability to eat gluten and can have more serious complications than many other food allergies. There are a range of screenings to use, including a capsule endoscopy to determine if you have this disease. To learn more about this diagnostic tool that can determine if you have this condition, we explore celiac disease, its risk factors and symptoms, and how capsule endoscopies work in your body.

Dr. Rajesh Mehta and his dedicated staff at LoneStar Gastroenterology can help you find relief if you live in the Austin, Texas, area and think you have celiac disease or other food intolerances.

Understanding celiac disease

Celiac disease is the name for an inherited autoimmune disorder that causes your body to react adversely to gluten, a protein found in foods like grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. 

With this illness, when gluten enters your digestive system, it triggers a response from your immune system to produce antibodies to fight it, which damages the lining of your small intestine (specifically the mucous membrane lining it). That damage inhibits your ability to absorb nutrients, leading to deficiencies like malabsorption and possibly malnutrition.

Risk factors and symptoms

While anyone can get it, those most at risk of celiac disease include white people (often women), people with relatives who have it, chromosomal disorders, and other autoimmune diseases. Other possible factors still under research include early exposure to gluten, viral infections during infancy, and having celiac-associated genes.

You experience symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, and fatty stool. If it leads to nutritional deficiencies, you struggle with signs like weakness, pale complexion, cold hands, headaches, mouth sores, unintended weight loss, delayed growth in children, low muscle tone, and nerve damage.

How a capsule endoscopy works

This method of diagnosing uses a pill-sized device that travels through your digestive tract and captures images with a miniature wireless camera. You swallow the capsule, and the device takes thousands of pictures as it moves through your body, transmitting all the data to a recording device you wear on your waist. It collates data in your small intestine, and since that’s where the damage caused by celiac disease starts to form, it’s an ideal choice for helping to locate evidence of this condition.

The process is straightforward; it starts with setting up the equipment around your waist to capture the images that the device obtains, followed by swallowing the capsule with water. Afterward, you go about your daily routine for eight hours, during which you wait two hours before drinking liquids and four hours before snacking after you swallow the pill. The endoscopy takes place after eight hours have elapsed or the pill has left your digestive tract.

Using this process, we can also test for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, polyps, tumors, and esophageal conditions like Barrett’s esophagus. This helpful little pill makes diagnosing illnesses in the GI tract easier, so if you’re dealing with the digestive problems mentioned above and need to find out what’s wrong, make an appointment with Dr. Mehta and LoneStar Gastroenterology today.