Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, rye and barley. When consumed by people who are intolerant, the result is abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and flatulence. In recent years, gluten sensitivity has emerged as a growing disease entity.
While celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a non-allergic, non-autoimmune condition. Both patients with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity find symptoms respond to a gluten-free diet.
Celiac disease affects approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is estimated to be 6 to 10 times more prevalent.
At NorthShore, our knowledgeable gastrointestinal specialists provide diagnosis and treatment for patients with celiac disease. At the present time, no diagnostic tests exist for determining non-celiac gluten sensitivity except to follow a gluten-free diet and see if the patient’s gluten intolerance symptoms improve. While there is currently no known health risk linked to eliminating gluten from your diet, it is recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider to rule out other potential causes of your GI symptoms other than gluten intolerance.