Gluten Sensitivity

Sensitive to gluten? Make sure you get the proper tests

gluten free stampAlthough colon cancer prevention is a huge part of what we do here at Digestive Health Specialists, we also see patients in our clinic daily in order to meet their digestive needs. This means that we diagnose, treat and manage a wide variety of digestive diseases. We are finding that patients are becoming more and more proactive with their health, and this is partially due to all of the information that is now easily accessed on-line. This is a great thing, but patients need to know that it is important to make sure your doctor is in the loop and able to provide you with the correct treatment if you are experiencing issues. We are seeing this often with the current hype around gluten and wheat allergies. This is a popular topic and a lot of material can be found on celiac disease and gluten free diets. Along with this comes a lot of misinformation as patients are powerfully influenced by alternative practitioners, internet websites and other forms of mass media.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which eating gluten damages the lining of the intestines, resulting in digestive symptoms and potential complications. The issue around this topic is that many people take it upon themselves to live a gluten-free diet because doing so helps with the symptoms they experience but are often never actually given the proper tests to rule out celiac disease. There are several reasons why this is not a great idea, one being that those that are not tested for celiac disease may not get appropriate treatment, which could lead to health problems down the line. Often someone requiring a gluten-free diet has similar symptoms associated with other disorders. It is very important that celiac disease is tested for; as it is possible there are other underlying issues.

A study on this topic was recently published by gastroenterology research fellow Jessica R. Biesiekierski, PhD.   The study focused on a group of people who believed they were sensitive to gluten were interviewed, and unfortunately many of them had not been accurately tested for celiac disease and several were still experiencing symptoms while practicing a gluten-free diet. Biesiekierski explains how patients should always see a Gastroenterologist if they are concerned that they could have a gluten or wheat allergy so that definite tests can be given before switching to a gluten-free diet. It is also mentioned that going gluten free before having these tests can make them less accurate.

With heightened awareness of gluten and wheat allergies also comes a large amount of confusion.  The safest thing to do when you find yourself experiencing any kind of symptoms is to contact your doctor and let them follow necessary protocols in order to diagnose and treat your condition properly. It’s great to be involved and take initiative with to improve your health, but always remember that it is important to make sure you are not missing anything before taking action.

Read the article mentioned here