What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a condition that affects many people around the world. It is caused by a difficulty in digesting gluten. Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rye. It is commonly found in bread, pasta, and other baked goods, but it can also be found in processed foods such as soups, sauces, and seasonings.

How do I know if I have a gluten intolerance?

Symptoms of gluten intolerance can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may experience digestive issues such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or constipation. Others may experience headaches, fatigue, joint pain or skin rashes.

The severity of symptoms can also vary, with some people experiencing only mild discomfort while others may have more severe symptoms that interfere with their daily lives.

It is important to note that gluten intolerance is not the same as Coeliac disease. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the consumption of gluten. It is a serious condition that can cause long-term damage to the small intestine. Gluten intolerance, on the other hand, does not cause this type of damage, but it can still be a significant problem for those who suffer from it.

How do you diagnose a gluten intolerance?

Diagnosing gluten intolerance can be challenging because there is no specific test for the condition. Instead, diagnosis is typically made based on a person’s symptoms and their response to a gluten-free diet. Blood tests may be used to rule out Coeliac disease and other digestive disorders. In some cases, a doctor may recommend an elimination diet, in which gluten is removed from the diet for a period of time to see if symptoms improve.

What causes a gluten intolerance?

The exact cause of gluten intolerance is not fully understood. Research suggests that it may be related to an immune response to gluten. When gluten is ingested, the immune system may see it as a foreign invader and mount an immune response. This immune response can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to the symptoms of gluten intolerance.

How do you treat gluten intolerance?

The treatment for gluten intolerance is relatively simple: avoiding gluten. This means eliminating all foods that contain gluten from the diet. This can be challenging because gluten is found in many different foods, but there are now many gluten-free alternatives available. Gluten-free bread, pasta, and other products can be found in most grocery stores, and many restaurants now offer gluten-free options as well.

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging, but it is essential for managing symptoms. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced. Some people with gluten intolerance may also need to avoid other foods that can be difficult to digest, such as dairy or high-fibre foods.

Here at One Ashford Hospital, we have a dedicated team of consultants on hand to rapidly assess and diagnose a gluten intolerance, along with a range of other conditions. Call One Ashford Hospital today on 01233 423000 or click here to find out more.