There is so much buzz these days about going gluten-free. Are you having abdominal pain and diarrhea like I use to? Or maybe you are experiencing stomach upset, bloating and fatigue. So who really needs the gluten-free diet? Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of celiac versus gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms of Celiac
Celiac is an autoimmune disease that causes the lining of the small intestine to first become inflamed then causes further damage hampering the absorption of nutrients leading to weight loss, growth problem, delayed puberty, eczema and infertility just to name a few.
Do you often struggle with some of these symptoms?
- Stomach upset
- Abdominal pain
I know what you are thinking…that the above list of symptoms could also be IBS irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance and acid reflux. Therefore, diagnosis can be a challenge plus symptoms can vary by age groups.
As our body grows here’s a list of additional symptoms based on age group:
- Infants and Children – decreased appetite, chronic constipation and digestive problems
- Teenagers – delayed puberty, growth problems and eczema
- Adults – bone loss, iron deficiency and infertility
[box type=”tick”]Tip: Did you know…gluten is a type of protein. Foods that contain gluten have ingredients that include wheat, barley and rye.[/box]
I found this statement from the Going Gluten-Free article on WebMD.com make some sense to me about why celiac disease is on the rise. It’s because Americans are obsessed with ultra-clean environments.
Celiac disease is on the rise, with rates doubling about every 20 years, Guandalini says. “There is a true increase in prevalence of celiac disease in all Western countries,” he says. Why? “The prevailing theory is the hygiene hypothesis,” Guandalini says. Because of our ultra-clean environments, children aren’t exposed adequately to antigens in the environment while their immune systems are developing. If the gut has not been taught to deal with antigens properly, the immune system responds toward gluten with intolerance. In contrast, celiac disease is rare in less sanitary, developing countries, Guandalini says.
[box type=”tick”]Tip: Did you know…over time the celiac disease will take its toll on the body if gluten is not omitted from the diet causing malnutrition, liver disease and even cancer of the intestine.[/box]
Sensitivity or also known as intolerance to gluten are those who have tested negative to celiac disease but are still reacting poorly to foods with gluten. This is the category that I fell into; gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitive people in addition to gastrointestinal symptoms often complain about fatigue and headaches. Because sensitivity is not that well understood there currently is no test to actually diagnosis this condition. So if you suspect side effects to gluten foods suggest giving gluten-free diet a try for 60 days.
My Gluten-Free Story
Last year I wrote a post about “Alternatives to Wheat Products’’ which includes my gluten-free story. I was experiencing two of the above symptoms; abdominal pain and diarrhea for several months plus my blood labs were elevated. My doctor sent me to a GI specialist for the celiac test and thankfully my test results were negative. However, I decided to reduce gluten from my diet anyway. My symptoms are all gone and blood labs are back down to normal as well. So I feel that gluten-free foods can help anyone who is looking to live a healthier life.
List of resources, all worth checking out.
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Cheers to a Healthy Day!