Gluten sensitivity is a condition with symptoms similar to those of celiac disease that improve when gluten is eliminated from the diet.
People with gluten sensitivity can experience symptoms such as “foggy mind”, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue when they have gluten in their diet, but other symptoms are also possible. While these are common symptoms of celiac disease, these individuals do not test positive for celiac disease or for a wheat allergy.
Having celiac disease is often confused with having a wheat or gluten allergy. People with a wheat allergy who consume any of the four classes of wheat protein, including gluten, can trigger an immune system response that causes an allergic reaction, with symptoms that span from itching, swelling and difficulty breathing to anaphylaxis. However, they do not experience intestinal damage.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity do not experience the small intestine damage or develop the tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies found in celiac disease.
Since there is currently no blood test for gluten sensitivity, the only way to be diagnosed is to undergo the screening and diagnostic tests required to confirm celiac disease. A diagnosis of gluten sensitivity is confirmed when you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or wheat allergy, and your symptoms diminish after starting a gluten-free diet, followed by a return of symptoms when gluten is reintroduced into your diet.
There is no cure for gluten sensitivity, and the only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet.
IMPORTANT: Do not self-diagnose. If you think you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, talk to your doctor about testing before you start a gluten-free diet. This is the only way to ensure accurate test results and protect your long-term health.