Strategies to avoid gluten are crucial for individuals who suffer from gluten intolerance, a wheat-related disorder. It is also referred to as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity because it shares symptoms similar to that of coeliac disease, despite being less severe.
Individuals often mistake gluten intolerance for a wheat allergy, although these differ from one another. Gluten intolerance is considered to be a less serious condition. However, people living with a wheat allergy may experience more severe symptoms such as impaired breathing and a loss of consciousness.
This post outlines a few of the treatment strategies recommended for gluten intolerance.
Testing an elimination of gluten from diets
Individuals who know they have an intolerance to gluten can manage their condition effectively by eliminating food that triggers symptoms of this condition.
Elimination diets are one particular way in which patients can determine their reaction to gluten. This means going completely gluten-free for at least one month. After this time period, gluten needs to be gradually reintroduced.
If symptoms return once gluten is reintroduced into a diet, this means that an individual is suffering from gluten intolerance provided coeliac disease has been excluded.
Individuals may also need to eliminate FODMAPS, which are a specific type of carbohydrates, from their diet.
These are short-chain carbohydrates NOT carbs, that are resistant to digestion. When FODMAPS are consumed, they reach the far end of the intestine, instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream. Gut bacteria then use these for energy, producing hydrogen gas causing a range of digestive disturbances.
Adopting a gluten-free diet
While there is no complete cure for this condition, individuals can adopt a gluten-free diet as a part of their gluten intolerance treatment strategy.
This type of diet is free from wheat, rye, and barley, including baked products and other food items made from flour or any flour-based products. In addition to this, individuals with this condition need to stay away from most packaged items including bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes, among other products, alcohol and beer. It’s also important that food labels are checked before any food item is consumed to ensure that it’s free of gluten.
Patients can also use gluten-free alternatives to flour including rice, quinoa, almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour and soy flour.
In the event that elimination diets and gluten-free diets are not completely effective, further tests need to be conducted to determine the exact cause of the ongoing symptoms.
Tests are usually conducted for wheat allergy and coeliac disease. Generally, patients who test positive for the genes associated with coeliac disease may not have a gluten intolerance. Gene testing may also be necessary if there is a family history of this condition in a given family.
Gluten intolerance can cause significant discomfort and unease if treatment strategies are not sought and if dietary adjustment is not made. For individuals with this condition, seeking personalised advice and treatment is of the utmost importance.
Patients should avoid attempting to treat themselves or to make any significant changes to their lifestyle or medications without consulting a professional.
Given that the diagnosis can swing in one of three ways: Coeliac disease, wheat allergy or gluten intolerance; receiving the right diagnosis is the most important part of gluten intolerance treatment strategies.
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