Because the symptoms can vary, and because other conditions have similar symptoms, celiac disease and food sensitivities are frequently underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Many patients have been to several different specialists but still can’t get relief from their symptoms. We know how frustrating and confusing this can be.
Experts at the Rush Celiac Disease and Food Sensitivity Clinic are committed to finding the answers. Our team, which includes a gastroenterologist, an allergist, dietitians and a physician assistant, has more than 20 years of experience caring for people with celiac disease and food sensitivities. By pooling our expertise, we are able to get a more complete picture of your digestive and allergy issues and how they may be connected.
Our goal is to determine the cause of your symptoms and create a customized plan to manage your condition — so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call (312) 563-FOOD (3663).
What Are Food Sensitivities? | What is Celiac Disease? | About Your First Visit | Meet Our Team
Why Do Certain Foods Make Me Feel Bad?
Food sensitivities result from the body’s reaction to enzymes or proteins in the food. They are usually related to quantity: People with sensitivity issues may not have symptoms unless they eat large amounts of the food or eat it regularly.
While food sensitivities are rarely harmful, they can cause unpleasant responses, including the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
Risk factors for food sensitivities include a history of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema and food allergies.
Celiac disease is an immune response to the gluten protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley. Oats may also cause this response due to cross-contamination with other grains (Oats, wheat and barley are usually grown in the same fields, and processed, milled and transported using the same equipment.).
Your risk for celiac disease increases if a family member (your mom, dad, sibling or grandparents) has the disease, or if you have a history of autoimmune diseases (type I diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, etc.).
Signs and symptoms of celiac disease include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Blistering, itchy rash
- Joint pain
- Weight loss
Celiac disease affects people in very different ways, and some people may not even have symptoms. But without adherence to a gluten-free diet, those with celiac disease are at risk for serious medical conditions, including the inability to absorb nutrients and vitamins, accelerated bone disease, cancers and neurological disorders.
What to Expect During Your First Visit
We look forward to meeting with you and helping you overcome any issues surrounding celiac disease or food sensitivities. We ask that you bring the following documents and information to your appointment, or fax or email them to us beforehand (our contact information is at the bottom of this page):
- A complete list of medications you are taking
- Previous test results, as relevant:
- Allergy testing
- Specific blood tests for celiac or allergies
- Contact information for your primary care doctor
Your first visit to the Celiac Disease and Food Sensitivity Clinic may last up to four hours. While you’re here, you will be seen by our team and undergo any necessary testing, including the following:
- Blood tests to measure serum antibodies associated with celiac disease
- Extensive skin testing for food allergies
- Patch testing for food allergies, if necessary
- Other tests may be ordered at your initial visit, such as an upper endoscopy, colonoscopy or hydrogen breath test. These tests will not be performed during your first visit but can be done before you come for your next visit.
Once your evaluation and testing are complete, our team will meet to review your test results, confirm the diagnosis and work with you to put together a treatment plan. Your plan may include transitioning to a gluten-free or allergen-free diet with the help of our dietitians, and medications to control your symptoms. We will also adjust your current medications if necessary.
Meet Our Team
Mark T. DeMeo, MD
Mary C. Tobin, MD
Shriram Jakate, MD, FRCPath
Susan Fox, PA-C, MMS
Susan Mikolaitis, MS, RD, LDN, CNSD
Mary Mullen, MS, RD, LDN