Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Gluten intolerance?

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Question
Dr
I have had IBS since mty late 30's, main symptoms are a hard, distended abdomen.
Since my other symptoms were similar to gluten intolerance-sore joints, stuffed up nose, I figured that was the problem.Whenever I stopped eating wheat for a few weeks I felt better. BTW doctor checked for celiac on blood test it came back negative.
Then my friend said the problem was meat, so I cut meat out and started eating wheat again-pretty much had to or starve! That was good for a couple weeks too-even lost a little weight and the belly shrunk a bit but still felt distended- but recently the old symptoms have come back with a vengeance.
I am thinking I really am sensitive to gluten. As for the meat maybe it was the calories and fat in it? I have heard that some people have trouble digesting meat as they get older (I am 55)
Thanks!

Answer
Hi Bud, thanks for your question. A lot of people are sensitive to gluten without having Celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley so it is contained in a lot of foods. Sometimes, if you have a Celiac blood test called an Endomysial or Tissue transglutaminase test it can be falsely negative. The reason for this is some Celiacs have a deficiency in antibodies that are the method of detecting the disease. It would be worthwhile asking your doctor about this. The gold standard test is  a biopsy from your small bowel, but this requires an endoscopy so is more invasive for you. Even if you dont have Celiac disease, there is no reason why you shouldnt follow a gluten free diet.

As for diet in general, this is intimately linked in a lot of bowel disorders and particularly so with IBS (see my web site, IBS Help Online). Meat is often a thorny issue with IBS and other bowel conditions, but I would always recommend having a degree of meat in your diet because of the nutritional value with protein and Iron particularly.

Hope this helps Bud and good luck.

Peter

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Dr Peter Thatcher MBBS, MRCPI. IBS Physician & Gastroenterologist

Expertise

I can answer questions on all aspects of IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medicine and Gastroenterology. This would include aspects of diagnosis, investigation and management of IBS and other gastroenterology or medical conditions.

Experience

I am a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in the United Kingdom. I qualified as a physician in 1993 and have been practicing Medicine and Gastroenterology ever since. I regularly run gastroenterology clinics and 1:4 patients have IBS. I am also the web master of IBS Help Online, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome help site.

Organizations
British Society of Gastroenterology Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall. UK

Education/Credentials
Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Fully UK Trained Medical Degree at Kings College School of Medicine & Dentistry 1993 Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Examinations 1997

Awards and Honors
MBBS 1993 MRCPI 1997

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