Celiac disease symptoms are similar to those of several other conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. This can make celiac disease difficult to diagnose. Your specialist at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital Center for Digestive Health and Nutrition will ask about your child’s symptoms and whether any close relatives have celiac disease.


They will also do a physical exam that can include checking your child’s teeth for spots and their body for a rash or signs of malnutrition. Your doctor may listen to your child’s abdomen with a stethoscope and check for pain or swelling.


If your doctor feels your child may have celiac disease, they will recommend one or more of the following tests:


  • Blood tests. These are done to check for substances called antibodies that show your child’s body is reacting to gluten in their diet.
  • Skin biopsy. If your child has dermatitis herpetiformis (skin rash), your doctor may remove a tiny piece of tissue from the rash to examine under a microscope. This can show antibodies related to celiac disease.
  • Genetic tests. Your child’s blood can be tested for genetic changes that occur in people with celiac disease.
  • Intestinal biopsy. During a test called an upper endoscopy, the doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your child’s small intestine to be examined in the lab. With an upper endoscopy, the doctor passes a thin, flexible tube with a camera through your child’s mouth to the small intestine while your child is sedated. This biopsy can confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease.