Although gluten sensitivity is most commonly associated with Celiac disease—a disorder impacting approximately 2 million people in the United States characterized by severe gluten intolerance—there is a milder form of the condition known as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Specialists estimate 1% to 3% of the population have NCGS.
Despite the proof of its existence, there haven’t been many studies into its causes or diagnosis. Currently, the latter for gluten sensitivity involves the process of elimination. Physicians rule out Celiac disease, and ensure gluten is the cause of persistent symptoms.
Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity signs and symptoms are similar to those of Celiac disease, and include:
Bloating is the most common symptom of non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. After eating food containing gluten, the stomach feels swollen or full of gas despite the amount consumed.
Occasional diarrhea should not be cause for concern, as it may be indicative of other issues such as infection or virus. Consistent diarrhea in conjunction with other symptoms may indicate a sensitivity to gluten.
Similar to diarrhea, occasional constipation is normal. However, if you’re constantly constipated, it may be time to seek a professional’s opinion.
Abdominal pain is a prominent sign of many gastrointestinal disorders. If you experience consistent stomach pain every time you consume a gluten-based product, visit a doctor to determine if you have Celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or an intolerance.
A 2020 study found an association between migraines and gluten sensitivity, concluding that: “Dietary adjustments significantly reduced the impact of migraine on patients' daily activities after 3 months in both groups.”
Chronic fatigue has been linked to gluten sensitivity. If you are constantly feeling tired, ask your doctor to check for this condition.
Anxiety & Depression
Research has shown anxiety and depression can increase with gluten intake. A 2018 study discovered: “A gluten-free diet (GFD) significantly improved pooled depressive symptom scores in GFD-treated patients...Our study confirms that gluten elimination may represent an effective treatment strategy for mood disorders in individuals with gluten-related disorders, while highlighting specific considerations for future research and implications for practice.”
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a consistent basis, or believe you have undiagnosed NCGS, schedule a consultation with Gastroenterology Associates today. We specialize in digestive disorders and are located adjacent to Long Island Center for Digestive Health, an outpatient facility conducting endoscopic and colonoscopic procedures.