Question: How do I know that I’m gluten intolerant and does this cause IBS?

How do I know that I’m gluten intolerant and does this cause IBS? I’ve been eating gluten free because I have IBS, but I’m not sure if the two are connected. Please help.

Answer

There has been a dramatic increase in gluten intolerance in recent years. There has been some speculation that modern farming techniques and the heavy use of pesticides has led to an increase in gluten intolerance. An intolerance is different to an allergy and may be difficult to test for. When there is an allergy to gluten (as in coeliac disease), a simple blood test will reveal antibodies to gluten, this is not the case with an intolerance. The best way to determine what effect gluten has on your symptoms is to completely avoid it for a period of time. Gluten intolerance can most certainly cause IBS and is in fact one of the foods most commonly implicated.

If you have IBS, completely eliminate all gluten from your diet for 3 months and monitor what happens with your IBS symptoms during that time. It is important to ensure that ALL sources of gluten are eliminated including all wheat, oats, rye and barley. Wheat flour is often used as a thickening agent in sauces and soups, so read the ingredients in all food products very carefully. If your symptoms disappear or improve significantly during this time, you are gluten intolerant. Wheat has far more gluten that any other grain and often people with wheat intolerance can still tolerate oats, rye and barley without any problems. Reintroduce these foods one at a time after gluten elimination to determine whether you are gluten intolerant or just wheat intolerant. Even severe IBS can be managed with diet, life-style and nutritional medicine.

Make an appointment with a Health Renewal doctor if you need help managing your IBS symptoms.

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