When Robin finally decided to head to the doctor for a checkup it was after months of not feeling well. Her main complaint was bloating after eating foods like pasta and bread. Certain foods like ice cream, granola bars or beans also caused significant abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea. After asking a few questions, the doctor suggested a diet change, she was handed a paper on the gluten free diet and asked to return in a month. Within a week Robin began to feel significantly better. Problem solved, right?

You probably know someone with celiac disease. With the prevalence rising to 1 in 133 people, nearly 3 million individuals in the United States have this autoimmune disorder. Unfortunately, 80- 90% of people who have celiac disease don’t actually know it. Randomly starting a gluten free diet without understanding how celiac disease is identified can do more harm than good.

What is Gluten?

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley is a common food ingredient in the United States. Gliadin, a part of gluten, cannot be fully broken down by the intestine in those with celiac disease, and can pass through the barrier of the intestinal wall causing an inflammatory response. Over time, the ability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients is decreased due to damage by exposure to gluten.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gastrointestinal reflux, or vomiting. People with undiagnosed celiac disease often become lactose intolerant due to the damage in the area of the small intestine that produces enzymes which help us break down and absorb our food. Although this sounds a lot like irritable bowel syndrome the cause and treatment is different.

When someone […]