Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity without celiac disease?
The occurrence of celiac disease (gluten hypersensitivity) has increased sharply in the last 20 years. Patients with symptoms such as abdominal pain, abdominal distension, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, iron deficiency anemia or reduced length growth or a lack of motor skills development should be tested for celiac disease. In case of an initial negative result, blood tests should be repeated within 1-2 years.
Gluten sensitivity without celiac disease (NCGS: non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) is a diagnosis made in patients where the symptoms decrease if they follow a gluten-free diet and where the tests for celiac disease and a wheat allergy are negative. NCGS is estimated to occur in 0.6-6% of the general population. Possibly 25-30% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have NCGS.
Psychological problems, headaches, joint pains, tiredness, and feeling of 'fog in the head' can occur because of NCGS.
The diagnosis is preferably made with a double-blind, placebo-controlled gluten provocation test. The treatment consists of a gluten-free diet. There are individual differences in the tolerance for small amounts of gluten. It is not yet clear whether the patient should follow the gluten-free diet for life.
For more information on this subject, you may make an appointment with our doctor.