Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease come with varied responses to the gluten protein found in rye, wheat, and barley. Interestingly, these symptoms are very similar, thus making it easy to confuse them as being the same thing.
It may not be easy to discern the specific condition you’re having without medical tests. Therefore, if you’ve been experiencing unpleasant symptoms after consuming gluten-rich foods like pasta or bread and unsure if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, schedule an appointment with experienced consultant gastroenterologists at Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver, and Gallbladder Clinic to get help.
Are there any differences between Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance?
There are still debates on whether gluten intolerance exists, but there are helpful diagnostic tests that can help confirm or rule out Celiac disease. For example, if you report reactions in your body after consuming gluten-rich foods, your practitioner will have to perform tests for Celiac disease first.
If the tests come back negative, they’d recommend a gluten challenge where you will be tasked with sticking to a gluten-free diet. If the symptoms clear up, they’d then reinstate the original diet consisting of gluten-rich foods to see if the symptoms will reappear.
Theoretically, if you get the unpleasant symptoms with gluten in your diet and the symptoms disappear when you eliminate gluten from your diet, it can be concluded that you’re gluten intolerant. That is after the blood tests have ruled you out of Celiac disease. Here’s a detailed look into both conditions.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. If you’re living with this condition, your immune system will be attacking your own body instead of responding against foreign substances like bacteria or viruses. The attacks can cause damages to your digestive system.
If you have Celiac disease, gluten will spur your immune system to attack the inside of your small intestines every time you consume a gluten-rich food. If this condition is left untreated, there is a massive risk of developing other worrisome conditions like neurologic disorders, intestinal damage, osteoporosis, anemia, cancer, impaired spleen, skin rashes, or chronic fatigue.
For diagnosis, you will have to undergo a blood test. If you test negative for Celiac disease, but you have a family history of Celiac disease, your gastroenterologist may recommend an endoscopy. If diagnosed with this condition, your best bet would be to avoid eating gluten in any form permanently. You may need to work with a registered dietitian or Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) to help you plan menus and identify the foods you’ll need to scrape off your diet.
Also known as gluten sensitivity or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance is recognized as an allergic reaction to gluten. There is still a lot of debate surrounding it in the medical fraternity, but the current hypothesis is that when you consume a gluten rich food, your body would recognize the gluten protein inside your system as an invader.
Therefore, it will react to it by fighting it with inflammation both inside and outside the digestive tract. If you’ve done the Celiac disease blood test and your doctor suspects that the adverse symptoms may be due to gluten intolerance, you will also need to avoid all forms of gluten in your diet.
What does a Gluten Attack feel like?
It doesn’t really matter if your gluten attack is due to gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. These symptoms have nothing to do with your digestion. Here’s a roundup of some of the most common symptoms you may experience due to a gluten attack.
Constipation, Diarrhea, and Smelly Feces
Diarrhea and constipation are typically not causes of concern but should be taken seriously if they persist. They may happen due to gluten intolerance or Celiac disease among other conditions.
If you have Celiac disease, you will experience inflammation in your small intestines after eating gluten. This would then cause damage your gut lining, causing low nutrient absorption and the effects like digestive discomfort, constipation, or diarrhea. Poor nutrient absorption may cause pale and foul-smelling feces.
Bloating is a fairly common condition and may be a result of many complications, including gluten intolerance. According to this study, around 87 percent of people suspected to be gluten intolerant experience bloating after consuming gluten. With bloating, you’d feel like your stomach is full of gas after eating.
Abdominal pain is also relatively common and may be due to a plethora of conditions. According to studies, most gluten intolerant people experience abdominal discomfort and pain after consuming gluten-rich foods.
Gluten intolerance has also been linked to skin disorders. Usually, if you have Celiac disease, there are high chances you will develop Dermatitis herpetiformis, which is a skin manifestation of this condition.
Other skin conditions that may be due to gluten attack include; Psoriasis, Alopecia araeta, and Chronic urticaria.
Your Help Might be closer than you Imagined
Do you suspect that you or your loved one has Celiac disease or is gluten intolerant but still unsure? We can help. Give us a call now or send us a message to schedule a quick consultation for you or your loved one.
Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver, and Gallbladder Clinic
101 Irrawaddy Rd
Royal Square at Novena, #21-11/12