Celiac.com 05/08/2015 - While it's true that all people with celiac disease are intolerant to gluten, not all people who are intolerant to gluten have celiac disease.

Photo: CC--Jukka ZittingSeveral studies have confirmed the existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), a hypersensitivity or form of gluten intolerance that causes numerous symptoms similar to those of celiac disease.

There are several key differences between celiac disease and NCGS. NCGS is distinguished from celiac disease by the following factors:

  1. No Hereditary Link
    Unlike celiac disease, NCGS is not hereditary, and shows no genetic component.
     
  2. No Connection with Celiac-related Disorders
    Unlike celiac disease, NCGS is so far not associated with malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, or a higher risk of autoimmune disorders or intestinal malignancies.
     
  3. No Immumological or Serological Markers
    Researchers have, as yet, identified no immunologic mechanisms or serologic markers for NCGS. That means that, unlike with celiac disease, there are no telltale screening tests that can point to NCGS.
     
  4. Absence of Celiac Disease or Wheat Allergy
    Doctors diagnose NCGS only by excluding both celiac disease, and an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat, and by the continued presence of adverse symptoms associated with gluten consumption.

Diagnosing celiac disease can be challenging. Misdiagnosis is common, and final and accurate diagnosis can take years and visits to numerous doctors.

Because of these key differences, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is often even more slippery and difficult to confirm than celiac disease, itself.

How about you? Do you or someone you know have celiac disease or NCGS? Share your story in our comments section below.

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