Celiac disease is a disorder that derives from gluten intolerance and affects one in 100 people worldwide. In some cases, it is possible to present similar symptoms even if the diagnosis of celiac disease is negative. Therefore health experts have introduced the term “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”.
Although there is no exact analysis to pinpoint it until now, doctors agree that it can be controlled with a gluten-free diet.
Many people with these problems resort to quick measures without consulting a doctor first and adopt a gluten-free diet to avoid bothersome symptoms.
However, it is very important to correctly identify gluten sensitivity, because a diet that does not contain gluten is not easy to follow and the ideal is to do it under the supervision of a specialist to avoid alterations.
As with other health problems, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity cannot be detected in time if the symptoms are not known. Therefore it is very important to be informed and to know how to identify the moment in which the symptoms require a medical opinion.
What are the symptoms that reveal a gluten sensitivity problem?
In 2009, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a guide on how to recognize and evaluate celiac disease, developed by a team of gastroenterologists, dieticians, nutritionists, immunologists with the collaboration of patient associations.
This guide advises doctors to suggest that the patient undergo blood tests as a first measure to diagnose a possible case of celiac disease, especially if they have a family history or some of these health problems:
- Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis
- Herpetiform dermatitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Type 1 diabetes.
Other symptoms that require further study
Blood tests should also be performed if the patient has these symptoms:
- Abdominal bloating and frequent gas
- Irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux
- Daily chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent nausea and vomiting
- Delayed development or growth (in children)
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Migraine and headache
- Joint pains
- Prolonged fatigue
- Depression or anxiety
- Chronic eczema or acne
- Unexplained iron deficiency anemia or other types.
Blood tests must obviously be submitted to the doctor’s attention and the diagnosis must be confirmed with an intestinal biopsy.
Alternative diagnoses should be avoided, because both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity involve important changes to health that must be adequately controlled through the permanent elimination of foods that contain gluten.
What to do in case of gluten sensitivity?
If you have recognized that you have more symptoms than those just mentioned, in a sporadic or chronic way, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor to have a clear and correct diagnosis.
The 60-day diet
We advise you to follow a gluten-free diet for 60 consecutive days to check if the symptoms you are experiencing are actually a consequence of gluten sensitivity
Failure to eliminate gluten from your diet is a clear sign of addiction and should therefore be communicated to your doctor or nutritionist.
Cereals that contain gluten are:
- The wheat
- The rye
- The kamut
- The vein
- The triticale
Among the cereals that do not contain gluten we remember:
- The grain of sorghum
When buying canned foods, check the label carefully as gluten is often present in large quantities.
In general, pay attention to:
- Processed foods
- Sauces and salad dressings
- Foods with many ingredients
- Ready meals
- Sweets, bread and baked goods.
Analysis after the diet
After the gluten-free diet period, we recommend that you consult your doctor again to analyze any changes in the body and symptoms and thus check the improvements.
If it is celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, then certainly the gluten-free diet is ideal and you can continue to follow it to prevent problems of this type from compromising the good quality of life.
After your doctor’s diagnosis, constant effort is required on your part to change your eating habits and make sure that gluten is never part of your diet again.