Gluten sensitivity: Are you suffering?
Do you experience bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or headaches? If you answered yes, then you could be one of millions potentially affected by gluten sensitivity and you may benefit from a gluten free diet.
This newly emerging condition may affect up to 6% of the population and can be easily confused with other gluten related disorders.
Below are some key facts on gluten sensitivity and how this emerging condition can be recognised.
How common is gluten sensitivity?
Key ways to identify if you have gluten sensitivity
Gluten sensitivity exists alongside the other gluten-related conditions and shares many of the symptoms of coeliac disease making it trickier to diagnose. Despite this, there are some definable ways of establishing this condition with guidance from a medical professional:
1. The following symptoms affecting different parts of your body, are signs that you could be suffering from gluten sensitivity:
diarrhoea and/or constipation
nausea and vomiting
swelling of tongue and colour changes
pain or burning sensation of upper stomach
headaches and mental confusion
numbness and/or pain in limbs
2. If you experience symptoms, it is important to exclude the possibility that you are suffering from coeliac disease, a wheat allergy or any other conditions which may be causing the symptoms. To exclude these conditions, you should seek advice from a medical professional and not make any changes to your diet until advised to.
3. Finally, if the other possible causes of your symptoms have been excluded, trialling a gluten free diet to see if your symptoms improve is a way of establishing if you may be suffering from gluten sensitivity.
Despite little being known about this condition, researchers believe gluten sensitivity is more common than both coeliac disease and wheat allergy combined. It is estimated that gluten sensitivity may occur in up to 6% of the population, compared to coeliac disease which affects around 1%.
Why are people sensitive to gluten?
No one really knows why there is an increase in the number of people who seem to be sensitive to gluten. One school of thought is that in evolutionary terms, gluten is a relatively new foodstuff for the digestive system, and we have noticed a trend of increased diagnosis of coeliac disease over the past decades.
If I do have gluten sensitivity, how is it managed?
Gluten sensitivity can be managed by excluding gluten from your diet*. It is unknown whether this exclusion should be temporary or lifelong (as in the case for coeliac disease), but what we do know, is that cutting out gluten is a step in addressing the symptoms of gluten sensitivity.
*If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is extremely important that you visit your doctor to rule out coeliac disease and wheat allergy before commencing a gluten free diet. It is vital that you remain on a gluten containing diet until you have visited a medical professional.
For further information about gluten sensitivity, visit glutensensitive.co.uk.