If you don't have celiac disease but still have a gluten sensitivity, you may wonder why it still bothers you. One potential cause of your symptoms could be irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Read on to learn a little bit more about this condition and how gluten can affect people with IBS.
What Is It and How Is It Diagnosed?
IBS is an intestinal disorder that causes stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test yet for IBS, so you will want to visit a gastroenterologist so that he or she can help you rule out other possible issues. For instance, people don't usually get IBS later in life; and people with IBS don't usually experience anemia or rectal bleeding, which could be indicative of another problem. After ruling out other issues, your doctor may diagnose you with IBS based on your health history, dietary responses, and current symptoms.
How Does IBS Relate to a Gluten Issues?
People with IBS may not have celiac, but they often have an intolerance to gluten. A true allergy can affect multiple organs in the body, while food intolerances are generally limited to digestive issues. While you may not have celiac, IBS can still make you prone to inflammatory responses if you eat gluten. This inflammation can damage the gut lining and lead to poor nutrient absorption.
Should You Cut Out Gluten?
Because IBS isn't curable, it's a good idea to adjust your diet if you can to reduce your symptoms. While you might think you just have a gluten intolerance, you might actually have an intolerance to other common food triggers as well, such as dairy, legumes, sugar, etc. Your doctor can help you adjust your diet so that you are still getting the right nutrients if you need to cut out certain food groups.
Studies have shown good outcomes for people with IBS who've cut out gluten. One study showed that there is a spectrum of gluten-related disorders and that some people did find improvement in their IBS symptoms when they cut out gluten.
If you are really missing foods that contain gluten, consider looking for substitutes. For instance, there are many pastas and breads that are made from brown rice, and they have a similar taste and texture.
If you are still having stomach troubles even with dietary changes, reach out to your gastroenterologist for more help.