Symptoms And Causes Of Celiac Disease
People who have celiac disease commonly experience weight loss, as well as digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Some people notice mental and emotional symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate, commonly described as brain fog, or depression.
Not everyone with celiac disease experiences the same symptoms. Some people have no digestive complaints whatsoever, yet routine blood tests reveal low levels of vital nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D. NYU Langone doctors take all of these signs and symptoms into account when making a diagnosis.
The exact cause of celiac disease remains largely unknown. However, more than 99 percent of people with celiac disease test positive for two genetic variations known as HLADQ2 and HLADQ8. Not everyone who carries these variations develops celiac disease in fact, most people dont.
Some theories suggest environmental factors trigger celiac disease in people with these genetic variations, but more research is needed. Researchers have found that a family history of the disease increases a persons risk.
How Is Celiac Disease Treated
Celiac disease is treated by not eating gluten. This can be hard because gluten is in many foods, but a dietitian can help adjust someones diet to cut out gluten. It is important not to start a gluten-free diet unless you are truly diagnosed with celiac disease.
Following a gluten-free diet allows the small intestine to heal. But that doesnt mean the person can start eating gluten again. For someone with celiac disease, gluten will always irritate the intestines and, if this happens, the diarrhea, belly pain, and other problems will return.
If youre diagnosed with celiac disease, it can be a challenge to learn which foods contain gluten. You may not be able to remember them all, but you can keep a list with you and ask about menu items at restaurants before digging in. Before you know it, youll be a pro at knowing which foods are safe and which are not.
How To Know If You Suffer Gluten Intolerance
First, avoid eating products that can contain gluten for 60 days. To do so, it is not enough to just stop eating bread and pasta with gluten. Lets not forget that gluten is also a food additive in many processed products. Therefore, read the product label carefully. Moreover, you will have to order a gluten-free meal if you go to a restaurant.
It may be difficult to give up the products that you usually eat as well as the belief that whole bread is always healthy.
Recommended Reading: Can Allegra Keep You Awake
You Always Experience Abdominal Pain And Bloating
Abdominal bloating is characterized by tightness and/or swelling in your abdominal region.
It occurs because of excess gas or disturbances in the muscles involved with digestion.
In a study of 59 adults with suspected NCGS, abdominal pain and bloating were the top reported digestive symptoms .
Its thought that a buildup of gas is the main cause in those who are sensitive after a gluten rich meal.
Celiac Disease Tests And Diagnosis
Doctors use blood tests and other tests to help find out if you have celiac disease:
- Serology tests look for certain antibodies.
- Blood tests check other parts of your immune system.
- Intestinal fatty acid binding protein tests show if thereâs damage to the intestine.
- A complete blood count looks for anemia .
- C-reactive protein tests show if thereâs inflammation.
- Metabolic panels test liver and kidney function.
- Vitamin D, B12, and folate tests look for vitamin deficiencies.
- Iron and ferritin tests look for iron deficiency.
- Swallowing a small camera can show problems in your digestive tract.
- Imaging tests show signs in the intestine, like wall thickening or changes to blood vessels.
- Genetic testing looks for human leukocyte antigens to rule out celiac disease.
If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’ll need to come off it before having the antibody test so the results will be correct.
If blood and other tests show that you might have celiac disease, youâll probably need to have an endoscopy. This procedure lets your doctor look at your small intestine and take a bit of tissue to see whether itâs damaged.
Read Also: Cetirizine For Skin Allergy
Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease Are Different
There are two different types of gluten intolerance: Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. People with celiac disease are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance, and even ingesting a very small amount can lead to severe damage of the small intestine.
The disease can develop at any age and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems.Most concerning? Many people who have celiac disease dont realize it. In fact, the Celiac Disease Foundation reports that an estimated 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed, and therefore at risk for major long-term health complications.
But you dont have to have celiac disease to have a gluten intolerance. Non-celiac gluten intolerance can be tough to diagnose because its not an autoimmune disease or a food allergy . Non-celiac gluten intolerance means that your bodys digestive system cant tolerate any form of the protein gluten. If consumed, your body fights against it with inflammation, causing digestive issues like fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea and gassiness. Its estimated that 15 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Bloating Gas Or Abdominal Pain
Bloating, gas, and abdominal pain are some of the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance. Because the gluten is not able to be broken down by the body, it wreaks havoc on the digestive system.
As the body attempts to digest the proteins with significant difficulties, extra gasses are released.
This can lead to the belly being tight and swollen, it might be tender to the touch, and it might be aching and painful. These symptoms might last a few hours as the body continues to attempt to break down the proteins. These can cause discomfort, irritation, and pain, depending on the severity and the individual.
Also Check: Claritin An Antihistamine
Find Out If Gluten Is To Blame For Some Of Your Health Issues
Sometimes our bodies are trying to tell us something with symptoms but we are unable to hear the message. Gluten intolerance can be a minor yet serious issue for some that can sneak up in the form of generalized symptoms. While digestive issues are a common indicator, they are not the only sign that you may have a gluten issue. If you’ve been feeling out of sorts lately, take this quiz by Dr. Aviva Romm, Integrative Women’s Health expert, and Dr. Jennifer Caudle, Family Physician & Associate Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, to see if your body is telling you that you may have gluten intolerance without knowing it.
How Do You Know What You Have
If you experience negative symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods, it is a pretty safe bet that you have some kind of disease, allergy, or sensitivity to gluten. Unfortunately, identifying the exact condition you have may not be quite so simple. The first step in diagnosing your problem is to have your doctor run a blood test which may be followed by other diagnostic tests. While running these tests, you need to continue consuming gluten-containing foods it is only after you have a diagnosis that you should switch to a gluten free diet.
A blood test cannot confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, but it can reveal the presence of immunoglobulin E antibodies which would suggest some kind of autoimmune or allergic reaction to gluten. If your blood test comes back positive for IgE antibodies, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to check the small intestine for damage damage to the lining of the small intestine would confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease while a lack of damage would suggest wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. To confirm a wheat allergy, your doctor may want to perform a RAST or skin prick test.
Recommended Reading: Claritin Children’s
Bloating Constipation And Gas
None of these symptoms are easy to deal with in everyday life. They may also become serious if constipation goes on for too long.
Celiac disease causes these digestive and gastrointestinal problems. One way to test for gluten intolerance is to cut out gluten completely and see if there is rapid and substantial improvement in bloating, constipation, and gas.
If these symptoms are lost with the elimination of gluten in the diet, it is a tell tale sign that the gluten is causing the issues.
How Is Gluten Intolerance Different
It is fairly common for the term gluten intolerance to be used interchangeably with gluten sensitivity. While neither of these terms are well defined within the medical community, many consider gluten sensitivity to be a milder form of gluten intolerance. For example, someone who experiences mild symptoms triggered by gluten consumption that resolve quickly may be diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. On the other hand, someone who develops serious symptoms that last for a longer period of time would likely be diagnosed with gluten intolerance.
Unlike celiac disease, both gluten sensitivity and gluten intolerance do not cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. The body does, however, identify gluten as a foreign invader which triggers the launch of an immune response. Inflammation is part of that response and can contribute to symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort but the symptoms and the inflammation typically resolve as soon as the gluten has been eliminated from the body via digestion. Frequent gluten consumption paired with gluten sensitivity or intolerance may contribute to other symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, hyperactivity, muscle weakness, and joint pain.
Don’t Miss: Zyrttec
Diarrhea Constipation And Odorous Feces
Occasional scenarios of diarrhea or constipation are very common.
However, when you start seeing such episodes daily, there is something to worry about.
These regular cases are common signs of gluten allergy!
In cases of people suffering from celiac disease, eating gluten causes severe inflammation in the small intestine.
This leads to damage in the gut lining and causes poor absorption of nutrients and discomfort in your intestine, which consequently causes diarrhea.
However, gluten also causes problems in people who are not suffering from celiac.
According to a study, more than 50% of people suffering from signs of gluten intolerance showed signs of diarrhea, and 25% of them experience constipation.
Apart from this, people might also experience smelly stools because of poor absorption of nutrients.
The frequent cases of diarrhea might also cause severe diseases and health issues.
How To Go Gluten Free
Currently, researchers are determining if those with gluten sensitivity should go completely gluten free or maintain a low-gluten diet. Additionally, theyre evaluating which biomarkers help identify gluten intolerance for diagnostic reasons, with the hope of creating tailored treatment options.
Regardless of where the research currently stands, the first step to going gluten free entails ruling out celiac disease, Crohns, and other gut disorders. Afterward, follow an elimination diet. Its wise to consult a registered dietitian, who can help ensure your diets overall quality to reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies, undesired weight loss, and poor energy intake. He/she can also help with the reintroduction phase, identify symptoms with food correlation, plus help navigate grocery shopping, recipe modifications, label reading, and social dining.
Recommended Reading: Allergic Skin Reaction Pictures
What Causes Gluten Intolerance
The exact causes of gluten intolerance arent well understood. Some research shows that people may not be sensitive to gluten, but to a certain carbohydrate found in many foods. Their bodies dont absorb the carbohydrate as they should. It stays in their guts and ferments, causing sickness.
Other research suggests that wheat might affect the lining of some peoples digestive tracts. This lining usually keeps bacteria from leaking out of your intestines. But in people with a gluten intolerance, the lining may not work as it should, allowing bacteria into their blood or liver and causing inflammation.
Signs Youre Gluten Intolerant
More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Its estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?
Also Check: Gluten Free Graham Crackers Walmart
Read Also: Histamine Effect On Lungs
Gluten Intolerance Vs Wheat Allergy
When a person has a wheat allergy, their body reacts to a protein in wheat, and this protein is not necessarily gluten.
A wheat allergy can cause life-threatening symptoms. Anyone with this allergy who ingests wheat requires immediate medical attention.
A person with a wheat allergy may develop:
- breathing difficulties, including wheezing
While an allergic reaction requires urgent care, an intolerance is not immediately dangerous. However, it can cause discomfort and may affect a persons overall health.
Anyone who believes that they may have either an intolerance or an allergy should consult a doctor.
Learn more about a wheat allergy here.
- some oat products
A person looking to avoid gluten should be sure to check food labels carefully. It may also be a good idea to make soups, sauces, and salad dressings at home.
Products with gluten-free on their labels do not contain enough gluten to trigger symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Manufacturers may remove the gluten from wheat flour or use a substitute, such as oat or chickpea flour.
Here, learn more about what a gluten free diet includes.
Find out more about alternatives to wheat bread in this article.
How To Diagnose Gluten Intolerance
Unfortunately, theres no specific gluten intolerance test. At any rate, the process of diagnosing first involves ruling out celiac disease and wheat allergies. Afterward, keep a food and symptom diary to rule out any other foods or ingredients that may cause discomfort. Journaling is an important step, as many of the intestinal symptoms overlap with other gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome . In fact, many adults with IBS report complete symptom improvement by going gluten free.
If you suspect you have a gluten intolerance, remove it from your diet for four-to-six weeks. After this period, you can slowly reintroduce it to evaluate symptom improvement.
You May Like: Zyertex
Signs You May Be Intolerant To Gluten
Gluten has become a much more discussed subject over the past few years. Some considered gluten free diets to be a fad for a time, but this is far from the case. In fact, there are observable gluten intolerance symptoms that can be uncomfortable and unhealthy for those dealing with it. These symptoms can be even worse or dangerous in cases of extreme gluten intolerance, like those with celiac disease. If you are thinking you might be gluten intolerant, then look for the five common signs below.
Recommended Reading: Premade Gluten Free Pizza Dough
Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
An increase in the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety were linked to eating gluten-containing foods, according to a 2014 study published in Alimentary & Pharmacology & Therapeutics. As we know, the gut-brain connection is very much realan unhappy gut can lead to substantial changes in mood.
You May Like: Loratadine For Allergy
Celiac Vs Gluten Intolerance: Is There A Difference Between Celiac Disease And Gluten Intolerance
Celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy are all conditions that are all affected by gluten. While similar in their condition, there are distinct differences in each and how to treat them. Read on to learn more about their differences.
In recent years, the gluten free diet has gained a great deal of traction, but many people still dont have a true understanding of what it means to go gluten free or the exact why someone would need to.
Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains including wheat, barley, and rye it plays a role in binding grain-based ingredients together in recipes, and it gives bread its spongy texture. The truth is that the gluten free diet is not designed for weight loss, as many tend to believe. It is much more beneficial when used as a strict, long-term eating plan for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy.
In this article, well explore the difference between each of these specific conditions as well as their symptoms. Well also take a quick look at how these conditions compare and what it really takes to follow a gluten free diet.
You Have A Known Food Intolerance
Food intolerance is said to affect up to 10% of people.
A reaction occurs when an individuals threshold to particular food chemicals or compounds is surpassed.
Anecdotal evidence indicates it is quite common for someone with a food intolerance to also be highly sensitive to gluten.
Note that those who dont tolerate gluten-containing foods should also consider FODMAPs as a trigger for symptoms.
Read Also: Clariin
So Youre Gluten Intolerant What Now
Once you confirm a sensitivity to gluten, the first step is to eliminate all gluten-containing products from your diet. You can find gluten in foods that contain wheat , rye, barley, triticale, malt, and brewers yeast.
Heres a list of popular foods that contain gluten:
- Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, and muffins
- Wheat , wheat bran hydrolysate, wheat germ oil, wheat protein isolate
- Batter-fried foods
- Snack foods such as potato chips, rice cakes, and crackers
- Salad dressings, soups, ketchup, soy sauce, and marinara sauce
- Processed meats and imitation crab meat
- Ice cream and candy
In addition to food and beverages, gluten can also be found in the following products:
- Lipstick, lip gloss, and lip balm
- Nutritional supplements such as vitamins and herbs
- Drugs and over-the-counter medications
If possible, you can ease into removing gluten entirely by slowly reducing your consumption to get a better sense of how it makes your body feel. Keeping a food journal is helpful during this transition, so you can make note of the foods that trigger the most serious reactions.
Heres some good news: Because of the response by grocers, restaurants, and food companies, there is now a wide variety of products and menu items to choose from that are gluten-free. And while it may take some trial and error to find what works for you, its worth putting in the time, so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.