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Gluten sensitivity: symptoms and treatment

Gluten sensitivity: symptoms and treatment


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Sensitivity to gluten: what is it about? Is it the same as celiac disease? What symptoms does it present? How is it diagnosed? What is the most appropriate treatment? It's dangerous? Here is everything there is to know about this new clinical entity!

For some years now there has been talk of a new clinical entity linked to gluten, “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”. It does not seem to directly involve the immune system and is characterized by a series of intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms, which occur quickly after the intake of gluten and also disappear quickly when it is eliminated from the diet.

You may be interested in the article "Gluten-free bread, the recipe"

Gluten sensitivity, diagnosis

At the moment there are no well-defined criteria for diagnosing this pathology; generally, it is the patients themselves who suggest its presence based on their experiences associated with the intake of foods containing gluten.

So far there are no validated tests; the diagnosis is only hypothetical, based on exclusion criteria! The diagnosis of gluten sensitivity, in fact, is based on the fact that the various symptoms, presumably associated with gluten sensitivity, are completely resolved through the exclusion of gluten from the diet. Obviously, before being able to formulate this hypothesis, the doctor will have to exclude both celiac disease and wheat allergy through specific tests.

Should diagnostic uncertainties arise, it is preferable to perform a test called DBPCT; allows you to establish what minimum gluten dose can be tolerated by the individual who is sensitive to it. In this case it will not be necessary to eliminate, but only to moderate foods containing gluten.

Gluten sensitivity, symptoms

The symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity are different and can present in different ways. At the intestinal level, there are manifestations similar to those typical of irritable bowel syndrome:

  • swelling
  • nausea and vomit
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dischezia
  • flatulence
  • abdominal pain
  • heartburn
  • aphthous stomatitis
  • stomach ache
  • sense of heaviness

Extra-intestinal symptoms can manifest themselves with:

  • fatigue
  • exhaustion
  • asthenia
  • muscle cramps
  • joint pain: gluten can increase the inflammatory state of our body, triggering negative reactions to health. One of the most troubling effects relates to the joints. In fact, gluten often causes swelling and pain; the most affected areas are usually the hands and knees.
  • headache: gluten triggers, in some individuals, inflammatory processes that affect the nervous system
  • migraine
  • state of mental confusion
  • eczema
  • hormonal imbalances: premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility are often related to gluten sensitivity.
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neurological Disorders: Among neurological symptoms there are dizziness and a tingling sensation.

Please note: since these symptoms are found in many other diseases, they cannot be considered specific and specific symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Furthermore, the causes of this disease are unknown, it seems that it can appear suddenly at any age and perhaps be a transitory condition.

Gluten sensitivity and behavioral disorders

Sensitivity to gluten can also have repercussions on an emotional level. Here are some symptoms related to the humoral sphere:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD or attention deficit disorder
  • Stress
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness

Gluten sensitivity, treatment

As already mentioned, it is difficult to diagnose any sensitivity to gluten; there are too many questions! Are we talking about a permanent or transitory condition? Is the sensitivity threshold the same for everyone or does it change from patient to patient?

Beyond any doubts, the most suitable approach is to propose a gluten-free diet for a limited period of time; around six months. A gradual reintroduction of foods that contain gluten will then follow. During the exclusion phase, all products containing wheat, spelled, barley, rye, triticale and all their derivatives should be avoided.

On the other hand, gluten-free cereals such as rice, corn, teff, fonio, millet and sorghum, or pseudocereals such as buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth, can be ingested. Reintroduction should begin with low-gluten cereals such as oats and spelled, to move on, in the absence of symptoms, to subsequently testing cereals with a higher content. A similar diet can be repeated periodically in case of relapses.

In the presence of this pathology, many individuals tend to exclude milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses, both fresh and aged, from their daily diet. Big mistake, given that these are harmless foods for those suffering from celiac disease and above all great allies of our health.


Video: Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity (May 2022).