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  • Jefferson Adams

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity Have Much in Common

    Jefferson Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Researchers Anupam Rej and David S. Sanders recently published a review exploring the complex relationship between the irritable bowel syndrome and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

    Image: CC--Melissa Hillier
    Caption: Image: CC--Melissa Hillier

    Celiac.com 05/01/2019 - In the last decade, researchers have learned a great deal about gluten and celiac disease. More recently, there's been greater focus on non-celiac gluten-related disorders, especially the role of gluten in non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

    These conditions share some significant common connections. For example, a low FODMAP diet may help some people with both IBS, and NCGS. For many people the symptoms of IBS, and NCGS can be similar, making it hard to distinguish between the two conditions. Both IBS and NCGS can mimic celiac disease, though there are some key differences.

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    Researchers Anupam Rej and David S. Sanders recently published a review exploring the complex relationship between the two disorders. They point out that recent data shows that gluten triggers symptoms in people with NCGS, and that gluten can trigger celiac-like symptom generation in patients with IBS. 

    Researchers are also increasingly looking at non-gluten components of wheat as possible triggers for symptoms in both conditions. Overall, there appears to be significant overlap between IBS and NCGS. 

    It is likely that a subset of patients presenting with IBS actually have NCGS. It's also likely that people with IBS have symptoms triggered by gluten. 

    Until researchers better understand both conditions, along with the role of wheat components in triggering symptoms, further research is required to help distinguish between both, and to delineate any connections between the two.

    Read more in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology 2019;35(3):199-205 (login required).


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    Glad to hear they will look more into both IBS and NCGS and gluten tie in. I was misdiagnosed as IBS (by symptoms only ) for over twenty years. Gluten is very much my problem and sadly I ended up with additional tolerances too. I will never know if I had been diagnosed earlier if I would have only gluten issues and avoided the additional intolerances. I do hope others out there will be discovered earlier and on the road to recovery sooner than I.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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