A Healthy Idyllwild

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By Callie Wight

Nothing in this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult you own healthcare provider 

Some info below taken from: 

http://membes.gesa.org.au/membes/files/Consumer%20Information/Low%20FODMAP%20Diet.pdf http://sim.stanford.edu/resources/smg_patient_info/IRRITABLEBOWEL09-09.pdf 

www.beyondceliac.org/SiteData/docs/WhatisCeli/7df546428970c440/What%20is%20Celiac%20Disease.pdf 

www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/gluten-sensitivity-testing/ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wheat-allergy/basics/definition/con-20031834

Is it gluten, wheat allergy, irritable bowel, FODMAPs or something else altogether? Here is a worthy puzzle.

Celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, sensitivity to FODMAPs, wheat allergy and most importantly other serious medical conditions such as cancer share some initial and common symptoms: bloating, pain, constipation/diarrhea, and flatulence, to mention only a few.

If you read no further, please heed these words: Proper diagnosis is critical. Virtually all sources recommend consulting with your knowledgeable health provider before making any changes that might mask underlying causes.  “… it is important to recognize that many gastrointestinal diseases present with similar symptoms, so the real danger is that in assuming a person has non-celiac gluten sensitivity, they are not evaluated appropriately and a more serious illness is missed and allowed to progress untreated,” said Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by consuming the protein called gluten found primarily in wheat and some other grains. It is a very serious illness that, in turn, can lead to a variety of other serious conditions caused primarily by the lack of absorption of critical nutrients due to a damaged gut. It is diagnosed with a blood test; if positive, this may well be followed by biopsy of the gut to confirm the diagnosis.

Wheat allergies also can be determined by a blood test plus a skin-prick test.  Wheat allergy should not be confused with gluten sensitivity. Even though gluten is found in wheat, there are other nutrients in wheat that can cause symptoms in a person with wheat allergy. And the allergy sufferer does not have to avoid the other grains in which gluten may be found.

NCGS is on the same spectrum as celiac disease, but the immune response is different. It is diagnosed only by process of exclusion. First see a qualified provider to get tested for wheat allergy and true celiac disease. If these are ruled out, then your provider may recommend a gluten-elimination diet.

If you feel better reducing your intake of gluten, then you might have NCGS. This improvement should persist over time and not be attributable to a placebo effect.  It is very important that a knowledgeable health-care provider and, perhaps a dietitian, work with you through this process.

Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) are naturally occurring sugars that are poorly absorbed in the gut, leading to gastrointestinal symptoms in some people. They are found in common foods such as some dairy products, wheat, other grains, and certain fruits and vegetables.

Some medical researchers are now examining the possibility that reactions to ingestion of FODMAPs may be misdiagnosed as “gluten sensitivity.”

So, surveying these various possible conditions, it seems to me that a thorough medical work-up is paramount.

Callie Wight is a California state-licensed registered nurse with a Master of Arts in psychology.

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