Treatment of coeliac disease

Treatment of coeliac disease

The only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict life-long gluten free diet. It’s important that you stick to your diet in order to feel well and stay healthy.

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats, and products that contain these ingredients. In addition to obvious sources of gluten, such as breads, pasta, biscuits and pastries, smaller quantities are also present in less obvious foods including processed meats, soups, sauces and confectionary.

By law any food that contains gluten, no matter how small the quantity, must declare this clearly on the ingredients panel. Look out for the names of the gluten-containing cereals within ingredients lists: wheat, rye, barley and oats. These ingredients will always be highlighted in some way, for example in bold font.

You will also need to ensure all of the food and drink you eat is not contaminated with gluten accidentally:

  • Wash all food preparation surfaces and utensils thoroughly before preparing gluten free foods
  • Use a separate toaster (or toaster bags) if you share a kitchen with people who are not gluten free
  • Never use oil or water that has already been used to cook gluten-containing food to cook gluten free food
  • Use separate tubs of butter, margarine and other condiments to avoid transfer of gluten-containing crumbs
  • Always store gluten free food away from gluten-containing foods, use clips and lidded boxes to avoid contamination.
  • If you’re planning to eat out, call ahead to make sure the restaurant can cater for a gluten-free diet and the catering staff are aware of how to avoid accidental gluten contamination. Don’t be afraid to ask if you suspect a dish may not be gluten free.

Many foods are naturally gluten free, including fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses. Specialist gluten free foods, including those produced by Schär, are available in supermarkets and will help you to include the foods you love whilst avoiding gluten.

Once you remove gluten from your diet, you should start to feel better very quickly. However, it can take a while for the gut to recover fully and some people continue to experience symptoms for up to a year after diagnosis. All people with coeliac disease should be offered an appointment with a registered dietitian to find out how to manage their gluten free diet.