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What Is Gluten Intolerance, How Do I Tell If I Have It, And How Can I Be Sure

What Is Gluten Intolerance, How Do I Tell If I Have It, And How Can I Be Sure

Introduction

 

Gluten intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances.

Gluten intolerance, also called Celiac disease, is an abnormal immune system response to gluten which causes inflammation in the intestines.

Gluten intolerance is not a medical condition that is well understood by many people.

If you have gluten intolerance, you might have experienced stomach pain and bloating in the past without realizing what was going on.

Now, it’s time to get educated.

Gluten intolerance may be more common than we think, so it’s important to know how you can tell if you have it and how to keep your symptoms at bay.

Here are some ways to find out if you can eat gluten with peace of mind and help yourself live a gluten-free lifestyle.

 

What Is Gluten Intolerance?

 

Gluten intolerance is a condition where your body reacts adversely to gluten.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Your digestive tract cannot break down this protein and digest it within your body, so it causes reactions like bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and more.

If you are unsure if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, ask your doctor to run tests for these conditions.

If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you will be taught how to live a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life.

Celiac disease tends to be more common in people who have:

  • Celiac disease in the family
  • Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Addison’s disease

 

How Do I Know If I Have Gluten Intolerance?

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or other forms of gluten sensitivity, it’s easy to tell if you have gluten intolerance.

But for someone not used to eating gluten-free food, it can be hard to recognize the symptoms of gluten intolerance.

One way to know if you have a sensitivity is by testing your blood. If you have a history of digestive issues like celiac disease or are highly sensitive to wheat, it’s likely that your blood will have antibodies to the protein in wheat.

It can also be helpful if you test for a food sensitivity or an infection (bacteria or yeast) that could cause symptoms similar to those caused by gluten intolerance.

 

gluten intolerance symptoms - What Is Gluten Intolerance, How Do I Tell If I Have It, And How Can I Be Sure

What Are the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?

 

The most common symptoms of gluten intolerance are stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Other symptoms may include:

–  Tendency to be tired or cranky
–  Having a low energy level
–  Having trouble concentrating

It is important to note that the list of possible symptoms may vary from person to person.

 

What If I Don’t Have Any Symptoms?

 

If you don’t have any symptoms, then it’s likely that you are gluten intolerant.

However, if you do experience symptoms, then you can be sure that you have a medical condition called celiac disease.

It’s important to see your doctor to get tested and start the treatment process to manage the symptoms of celiac disease.

If you want to know more about gluten intolerance and how to manage symptoms of celiac disease, visit my blog.

 

Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity

 

One way to diagnose gluten intolerance is to get a blood test.

The blood test will reveal your levels of the antibody celiac disease specific immunoglobulin.

A (IgA), which can be indicative of gluten sensitivity. If your blood test comes back positive, you might want to talk with a doctor about the next steps in diagnosing and treating your symptoms.

Another way to diagnose gluten intolerance is by visiting your doctor.

Your doctor might also perform a tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibody test that measures levels of antibodies against celiac disease transglutaminase in your tissues or serum.

This is an easier and less expensive option.

 

gluten intolerance diagnose - What Is Gluten Intolerance, How Do I Tell If I Have It, And How Can I Be Sure

What Is the Outlook for People with Gluten Intolerance?

 

The good news is that there are many things you can do to manage gluten intolerance. The first step is to work with your doctor to figure out an appropriate diet for your gluten disorder.

Foods that are normally safe to eat if you have gluten intolerance include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Gluten-free grains
  • Legumes

Gluten intolerance can cause a deficiency in important nutrients like vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and iron.

The best way to get your daily dose of these vital nutrients is by taking a multivitamin.  But if you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a new vitamin every day, try a few different kinds for two weeks or so.

If you feel better without the vitamins and still continue to suffer from symptoms, then it’s time to get back on track with your regular supplements.

 

Preventative Treatment for a Future Case of Gluten Intolerance

 

The best way to prevent gluten intolerance from becoming a serious problem is to try and avoid it completely.

If you’re not sure if you have a gluten intolerance, or even if you do but want to make sure that it doesn’t become a problem later on, there are some simple ways to help keep your symptoms at bay at prevent flare-ups.

The most common symptom of gluten intolerance is stomach pain and bloating.

If you feel like this has been happening more often than usual, then it would be smart to talk with your doctor about preventive treatments for the future case of gluten intolerance.

Your doctor can prescribe something for you, which can work well for preventing symptoms of gluten-intolerance.

If you decide to go gluten-free, make sure that you follow the same rules as someone who has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity:

  • You should only eat foods made with whole grains (such as wheat, oats, barley) instead of processed products containing white flour
  • You should stay away from soy sauce because it often contains wheat
  • You should also stay away from products containing high-fructose corn syrup because they often contain maltodextrin in place of real sugar

gluten intolerance diet - What Is Gluten Intolerance, How Do I Tell If I Have It, And How Can I Be Sure

Conclusion

 

Gluten intolerance is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s small intestine when it comes to gluten.

It can cause a variety of problems that range from minor to very serious.

That said, if you suspect you may have a gluten intolerance, there are a few things that you should know.

First, this is not an allergy, so taking allergy medicine will not help.

Second, symptoms may not appear in some people until they’ve been on the gluten-free diet for anywhere from 6 months to years.

This is why it’s difficult to tell if you have the condition without testing.

The only way to know is to have blood and stool tests done by a physician or other healthcare professional.

 

Getting Help

 

Can you relate?  Are these symptoms familiar in your own life?
There is no one definitive answer to the question of when to see a gastroenterologist.

However, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide when to seek medical help.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider.

Dr. Schneider is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology with years of experience.
Book an appointment online or contact us on 011 482-3010 to find out more.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

A healthy functioning gut plays an important role in the functioning of your immune system.

It also helps extract nutrients from your food, vitamins, and medications, allowing these compounds to enter the bloodstream where they can fill your body with nourishment.

But the gut also serves as a critical barrier to block harmful substances and undigested food particles from entering the bloodstream.

From making correct diagnosis to starting treatment and education on a gluten-free diet, at GIDOCJHB, our goal is to provide comprehensive care for patients with gluten-related disorders.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the glue that sticks it all together, and it’s a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Meaning it’s found in foods you probably eat every day – bread, pasta, cookies, cereals, crackers, salad dressings, and more.

Gluten is almost always found in foods that use these ingredients, but it can also be found in medicines, vitamins, and supplements that use small amounts of these ingredients too.

 gluten free diet - Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance, also called gluten sensitivity, is an uncomfortable, and often painful disorder, where your body reacts negatively to eating gluten.

In some ways, gluten intolerance is similar to celiac disease, however, Gluten intolerance is different than celiac disease, which is the disorder that’s diagnosed when someone has a true allergy to gluten.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that runs in the family (hereditary).

Unlike celiac disease, which can cause permanent damage to your small intestine, gluten intolerance can cause problems with your digestive system, but it won’t cause permanent damage to your stomach, intestine, or other organs.

 

Causes of Gluten Intolerance

The specific causes of non-celiac gluten sensitivity are unclear and are being researched.

As of today, It is not known why some people are sensitive to gluten.

Unlike celiac disease, which runs in families, it doesn’t have the typical markers or intestine damage used to diagnose that autoimmune disorder.

Because there are other digestive disorders with similar symptoms to those of gluten sensitivity, the first thing you should do if you have these symptoms is to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist about your diagnosis options.

 

gluten intolerance symptoms - Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms of gluten sensitivity are mostly identical to those of celiac disease. You may experience symptoms daily or from time to time.

At times any of these symptoms can range from mild to severe. You may have gluten sensitivity if eating foods with gluten causes you to experience:

1. Upset Stomach

This can take on many different forms for the gluten intolerant such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, etc.

If you’re having chronic digestive issues, it makes sense to talk to a gastroenterologist about diagnosing the source.

2. Headaches

People with gluten sensitivity may experience severe headaches or migraines.

 

3. Abdominal Pain

People diagnosed with gluten intolerance often experience abdominal pain frequently, without an obvious cause or reason.

4. Fatigue

People with gluten sensitivity often have a lack of energy that impact daily functioning.

5. Nausea

Nausea can have many causes, but if it often occurs after eating gluten it can be a sign of gluten intolerance.

6. Bloating

Your stomach can swell and feel tender after digesting gluten. Keep in mind that IBS can also cause bloating, as can hormones and eating certain gassy foods.

 

Other Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity

  • Itching skin
  • Muscle cramping
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes

If you have these symptoms, it’s recommended to schedule a consultation and get officially diagnosed, as this is important to determine your course of treatment. 

 gluten intolerant treament - Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

Gluten Intolerance Diagnosis

To find out if you have are gluten intolerant or sensitive, Dr. Schneider will talk to you about your symptoms, including how often they occur and the impact.

It’s important to see your gastroenterologist for a diagnosis rather than diagnosing yourself, as gluten intolerance symptoms are similar to those of other medical conditions.

You may also find it helpful to keep a daily food journal for a few months, highlighting what you ate and when symptoms occurred and seeing if there is a pattern.

If you believe the symptoms are triggered by gluten, it’s important to rule out the possibility that its coeliac disease.

Your gastroenterologist will conduct a blood test, looking for antibodies that are a telltale sign of the disease; the diagnosis will then be confirmed with a gut biopsy to look for signs of damage.

Unfortunately, there is currently no medical test to diagnose non-celiac gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

The most reliable way of diagnosing it is by following an elimination diet.

Once you have an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Schneirder will be able to provide you with advice as to the most appropriate dietary changes and other ways moving forward.

 Gluten Intolerant - Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

Gluten Intolerance Treatment

Maintaining a strict gluten-free diet should help manage symptoms and prevent further discomfort and pain.

This means carefully reading the labels on any products you buy, and replacing your normal bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, etc with a gluten-free alternative.

Following a gluten intolerance diet may seem difficult at first, but the relief of all those symptoms might just give you a new lease of life.

You will have to stay on the gluten-free diet even after you don’t feel any symptoms.

You might also need to take certain vitamins and supplements to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

 gluten intolerance gastroenterologist - Gluten Intolerant and When To See a Gastroenterologist

When to See a Gastroenterologist

You should see a gastroenterologist if you have any of the symptoms above when you eat foods containing gluten. Its recommended scheduling an appointment with if:

  • You have diarrhea or digestive discomfort lasting for more than two weeks
  • You have a risk factor such as type 1 diabetes
  • You have a family member with the condition.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.