Gluten sensitivity symptoms and much more


Gluten sensitivity is an immune reaction to gluten that can affect both children and adults. However, this condition is different from the severe allergic reaction known as celiac disease (CD), or wheat allergy (WA). Unlike CD or WA, which are generally lifelong problems, gluten sensitivity often improves on its own or with treatment.

This article discusses symptoms of gluten sensitivity; testing for it; how it differs from celiac disease; and treatments for gluten sensitivity.

The symptoms of gluten sensitivity

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Symptoms of GS may involve any organ in your body but most commonly cause stomach pain, digestive problems such as bloating, chronic diarrhea, loss of appetite/weight loss, and fatigue. Some people have constipation instead of diarrhea. Nerve damage, though rare in adults, can lead to numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

Gluten sensitivity is sometimes associated with other conditions including autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, dermatitis herpetiformis (a rash that is a symptom of celiac disease), anemia, inflammation of the eye tissue called uveitis, infertility, miscarriages, depression, anxiety, asthma and bronchitis, migraines headaches, skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. It also has been linked with some neurological problems like peripheral neuropathy (pain or numbness of the arms and legs caused by nerve damage), multiple sclerosis, and cerebellar ataxia (problems with balance or coordination caused by damage to nerves in the brain).

Researchers are studying whether gluten sensitivity might be associated with some psychiatric conditions including schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, anorexia nervosa, osteoporosis, infertility, neuropathy, dementia.

People with gluten sensitivity

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Studies of people who have GS without celiac disease show that they are less likely to have other autoimmune diseases than those with CD. However, they are more likely to have family members with one or more types of autoimmune diseases including CD. About 6% of first-degree relatives (parents, children, or siblings) of people with CD also have GS. Many of them don’t develop symptoms and it’s not clear whether some will go on to develop celiac disease.

While we used to think that only children got the type of gluten intolerance associated with CD and WA, we now know that adults can get it too. It is still more common in children than adults though and rarely starts after age 50.

People who have had an intestinal infection called giardiasis may be at risk for gluten sensitivity because this infection often leads to reduced absorption of nutrients from food and results in severe diarrhea. This condition is known as “post-infectious” gluten sensitivity because you are sensitive to gluten only after having an infection.

Causes of gluten sensitivity

We don’t know the exact cause of GS, but we think that people who get it are more likely than others to have a genetic predisposition (if you have a first-degree relative with CD or WA, you’re at higher risk) and possibly other factors like past intestinal infections (the most common one is giardiasis ); exposure to some medications; low stomach acid; overuse of antibiotics; stress. aging. Some experts believe it may be due to an immune response in some people triggered by repeated ingestion of gluten proteins such as gliadin (the main protein found in gluten). These proteins become problematic when they cross the lining of your small intestine where they can stimulate an immune response in sensitive people.

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