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