Gluten Intolerance Versus IBS

Celiac Disease or IBS?

Both celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome are two medical conditions that affect adults and children. These two disorders are disruptive to a patient’s daily life and both cause pain and discomfort to the gastrointestinal tract. Eliminating gluten has brought relief to both celiac and IBS patients but it is important to know that some celiac patients continue to have symptoms of the disease even though they may be following a gluten-free diet. The difference between celiac and IBS deals with distinct and common symptoms and the outcome and probability of restored health.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can be triggered by eating food that contains wheat, rye or barley. These ingredients are the basis for food products that contain gluten. Other triggers can be genetics or environmental hazards. Diagnosing celiac disease is not easy, so unfortunately, some people are not given the correct diagnosis.

Children with celiac disease have distinct symptoms that interfere with the proper development that is important to a healthy childhood. The inability to concentrate and autistic-like behaviors affect a child’s learning abilities. The physical growth of children with celiac disease is apparent by short stature, weak bones, and delayed puberty.

Similar Symptoms

Adults display a wide variety of symptoms, so wide that more than 250 complaints have been recorded by healthcare providers. Iron and vitamin deficiencies, which can be detected with blood tests, are indications that celiac disease is present. If someone is suffering from depression, mood swings, lethargy, or irritability, it would be wise to undergo testing for celiac disease. Skin disorders could also point to a celiac diagnosis.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that involves the large intestine. An infection that produces bacteria in the intestine may be a cause of irritable bowel syndrome. Since many of its symptoms can be successfully managed with diet changes, gluten sensitivity has been linked as a trigger. Stress, which has also been found to precipitate IBS, should be managed to lessen the unpredictable flare ups of IBS.

The list of symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome is not as extensive as celiac disease. Since the large intestine is where the most discomfort is felt, patients have complained of abdominal pain, cramping, and excess gas. Gluten sensitivity, which is a negative reaction to ingesting gluten, manifests itself in the form of diarrhea or constipation and both conditions can be present in alternating occurrences. More severe changes in the intestinal tract, such as rectal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia will cause a doctor to order more extensive tests to rule out cancer.

The effects of gluten lead to informed discussions and continued research concerning celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. It is not unheard of to hear that people have completely reversed their IBS symptoms. Adapting a gluten-free diet will bring quick relief and will not require expensive prescription drugs or difficult menu planning. Celiac disease, on the other hand, is not curable or preventable but abstaining from gluten will be the most important factor in managing the disease. Since celiac disease is more complex and more difficult to detect, it is paramount to one’s health to consult a specialist in celiac disease.