People confuse gluten intolerance with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, which makes sense seeing as medical experts like using the term gluten intolerance to encompass all illnesses related to gluten.
But in truth, gluten sensitivity and intolerance are not the same things. Celiac disease is a food allergy. The body’s immune system overreacts to the presence of gluten, manifesting serious symptoms.
What is Food Intolerance?
Food intolerance is actually similar to celiac disease. In both situations, the body initiates an unnecessarily aggressive reaction to the presence of gluten. Major differences arise when it comes to the amount of damage that food intolerance causes.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein sourced from the endosperm of cereal grain. It not only nourishes the plant embryos of cereal grains during germination but it later impacts the elasticity of the dough.
What Causes Gluten Intolerance?
Unlike gluten sensitivity where the immune system erroneously reacts to the presence of gluten, gluten intolerance manifests as a result of the digestive system’s failure to break down gluten.
As a result, the gluten sits in the digestive system. It causes irritation but there is no real damage done.
Of the two, celiac disease is more dangerous because it damages the lining of the gut.
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
The symptoms of gluten intolerance are similar to those of celiac disease, the most common of which will include the following:
1). The most common symptom of gluten intolerance is digestive problems, this including bloating, diarrhea and gas to mention but a few.
2). Keratosis Pilaris is also a relatively common symptom of gluten intolerance. Also called chicken skin on the back of one’s arms, the symptom develops as a result of fatty acid and vitamin A deficiencies.
3. People with this ailment have reported experiencing fatigue after a meal, this along with a foggy mind.
4). Some people not only feel exhausted after a meal constituting gluten but they also experience dizziness and a lack of balance.
5). The joints, knees and fingers can sometimes swell as a result of inflammation, this leading to very irritating aches.
Along with mood swings, issues of anxiety, depression and migraine headaches, gluten intolerance might not be as dangerous as celiac disease but it can get irritating and overwhelming if not dealt with.
Treating Gluten Intolerance
Before you can begin treating this illness, you must first diagnose it. In most cases, a basic blood test should prove sufficient. The right medical expert should be able to identify certain markers synonymous with gluten intolerance and sensitivity.
Some people who have the illness have been known to undergo and produce negative blood tests, this despite showing every possible symptom of intolerance.
In such cases, an endoscopic biopsy might prove necessary. This is where the intestinal tract is examined thoroughly. Patients are required to consume gluten for this test to work. Admittedly, even then, because intolerance doesn’t necessarily cause damage, you might not find any solid evidence of gluten intolerance, in which case you must trust the doctor’s interpretation of your symptoms.
When it comes to treating gluten intolerance, the solution is simple. You have to avoid gluten. That is all there is to it. Your diet must be completely and absolutely free of gluten.
There are medicines that your doctor can recommend but they will only help you control the symptoms caused by gluten consumption. They will not cure your intolerance.