Sometimes people do not realise that what they are eating is making them sick. This is especially true for people with a sensitivity to gluten. This protein, which is found in barley, rye, and wheat, launches attacks on some people’s small intestines. As the attacks progress, the lining of the intestine is affected, which prevents the absorption of nutrients.
What Happens after Gluten Is Removed from a Diet?
Therefore, anyone who is diagnosed with a sensitivity to gluten must consume a gluten-free diet. When sufferers remove this protein from their diet, most report a lessening of symptoms in a couple weeks. However, the damaged villi that line the intestine normally take several years to recover.
This disorder is considered hereditary. Therefore, if your relative, such as a child, sibling, or parent, is sensitive to gluten, you also have a one in ten risk of being insensitive too. Other names for gluten sensitivity include coeliac disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, and nontropical sprue.
When Does the Disorder Appear?
Gluten sensitivity may develop at any time in a person’s life, or after the onset of eating gluten-rich substances. If you do not address this health issue, it can lead to one or more serious long-term conditions. These conditions include the following:
- Iron-deficient anaemia
- An early onset of osteopenia or osteoporosis
- Lactose intolerance
- Problems with conceiving or miscarriage
- Mineral or vitamin deficiencies
- Peripheral or central nervous system ailments, including dementia, migraines, epileptic seizures, myopathy, or neuropathy
- Gall bladder problems
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiencies or EPI
Some people who have a gluten sensitivity do not experience any symptomatology. However, a diagnosis can be confirmed through a blood test or intestinal biopsy. In addition, adults are less likely than children to have digestive difficulties. Adult symptoms related to the disorder may include the following:
- Bone or joint pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Canker sores
- Skin rashes
- Bone loss
- Biliary tract or liver disorders
Symptoms in Children
Children who are sensitive to gluten often experience vomiting, chronic diarrhoea, bloating, or constipation. They may also exhibit irritability, delayed growth, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Data furnished by the World Gastroenterology Organisation states that the disorder may be classified under classical and non-classical types. If your gluten hypersensitivity is categorised as classical, you will have symptoms related to malabsorption, including diarrhoea or weight loss. The non-classical form of the disease causes mild gastrointestinal symptoms without any indication of malabsorption. Unrelated symptoms may be present as well.
If a person is asymptomatic, then their sensitivity to gluten is classified as silent. Whilst these patients may not note any symptoms, they will still experience atrophy to the villi in the small intestine. These patients also noticed that changing their diet made a notable difference in how they felt. For example, acid reflux stopped being an issue, as did distention and bloating.
This is why research shows that a large population still remains undiagnosed – some people are sensitive to gluten and do not know it. According to medical experts who hand coeliac cases, anyone who is sick for a fairly long time, whose illness is unexplained, should consider that a gluten sensitivity as a possible cause.