The Mystery of IBS – Why Gluten Sensitivity Should Always Be Considered

light bulbA recent article published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology discusses a new task force put together by the American College of Gastroenterology.  Their recommendation is that patients suffering with IBS should be screened for gluten sensitivity

Historically, it has been reported that patients with undetected celiac disease (CD) may present with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) type symptoms. This has led to the recommendation by the American College of Gastroenterology Task force that patients presenting with diarrhea predominant IBS type symptoms should be serologically tested for CD. Concurrently speculative media data suggest that the US general public have increased their uptake of a gluten-free diet (GFD) far in excess of the known prevalence of CD. This may suggest that individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms are deriving benefit from a GFD even if they do not have CD. This has led to the scientific community considering the evidence for an emerging concept of non-celiac wheat sensitivity. There is a significant disparity in our views about what this phenomenon may be. There is also confusion about the nomenclature for this entity and indeed whether patients are suffering due to symptoms related to gluten or perhaps other components of wheat, for example fructans. In this month’s edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, we see evidence to support the clinical concept of wheat sensitivity or intolerance…This offers a new option in our armamentarium when seeing patients with IBS type symptoms.

Source: Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Dec;107(12):1908-12. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.344.

Are Doctors Waking Up?

Traditionally IBS sufferers are told to “eat right and limit their stress”.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome typically manifests as symptoms of gut pain, bloating, gas, and loose bowels (in some cases – constipation).  Endoscopic and other common diagnostic gastrointestinal tests are most often negative leaving people without answers.  Medical advice for the treatment of IBS is typically to prescribe medications that don’t solve the problem.  The fact that this task force is calling for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease investigation is definitely a step in the right direction.

What Contributes to Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Food intolerance, food allergies, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), gut dysbiosis, enzyme deficiencies, and infections are the most common contributing factors in the development of irritable bowel symptoms. Think about it, we bathe the gastrointestinal tract with food 21 times per week.  That food is full of chemical food additives, potential allergens, viruses, bacteria, etc.  Add to this the fact the most city water supplies are contaminated with antibiotics that can damage the healthy bacterial balance in the gut.  Why many doctors completely ignore this is beyond me, but it is good to see that the medical community is at least starting to look at gluten.

Simple Tips for IBS Sufferers

  • Avoid caffeine
  • Avoid gluten, dairy, and processed sugar
  • Acquire fiber from vegetables not fiber supplements or powders
  • Consider using a high quality probiotic
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise!
  • If these simple changes fail to help you…see your doctor

Common sense dictates that it would be prudent to investigate food as a contributing factor to gut disease.  If your doctor hasn’t or has refused to evaluate these areas, find a functional medicine doctor who will. If you haven’t watched this video on gluten sensitivity, I highly recommend you do so now as gluten is a major cause of IBS.

If you would like to be genetically tested for gluten sensitivity and your doctor won’t help you visit this link and you can get a home test kit sent to you.  Remember that chronic diarrhea can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and many other dangerous health issues.

Always looking out for you,

Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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5 thoughts on “IBS Linked to Gluten Sensitivity

  1. Free from IBS says:

    I discussed I was sensitive to gluten when I tried the Atkins diet about 10 years ago. I felt so good and my IBS just went. It wasn’t the low carb diet it was the fact I had taken wheat out of my diet.

  2. Sarita says:

    I eat buckwheat and it seems to be fine. Also almond meal and other nut meals work well. My question to all that can be of assistance. What if you don’t consume animal products?
    I eat eggs but no meat or dairy.

  3. Sarita says:

    Hi Michelle you will need a broad spectrum probiotic dairy free. Also maybe a good digestive enzyme with each main meal. It will assist your gallbladder too. A slither of ginger with some salt and lime about 15 min before eating will prepare your digestive system for a meal. Consider soaking or sprouting legumes. Mung beans will probably work the best for you in general. Consume more seeds and nuts. Stay away from soy as it inhibits digestion. You can make high protein pancakes to use in place of breads with chickpea four. I hope this helps. Finally consider a natural gallbladder flush.

  4. Becky says:

    Could you please recommend a good functional doctor in Austin? I am glutent intolerant, but I need some additional help and guidance. I am so much better, but still have some issues. I enjoy your articles and wis I lived closer to your office. Thank you for your help!

    Becky

  5. Rhonda Davidson says:

    To avoid working with too many variables at once, just eliminate ALL grains. If you’re not sure what a grain IS, just google it (grains are the seed of a grass) so corn and rice ARE grains, but quinoa is NOT. Then give your new regimen some time to make a difference!

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