Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Gluten Intolerance or I.B.S.?


At one time I was sure I had IBS. I followed your recommendations and felt better. Then recently after a severe attack, I went gluten free again. This also has helped as well, but the symptoms didnt go away. The symptoms are bloating and abdominal distension, which starts with breakfast and slowly builds up until bed time. By morning my stomach is flat and feels OK again.
Things got so bad last week  So bad I called my doc and he renewed my prescription for Cilalopram. I was depressed two years ago when I lost my son. It helped the depression, but the surprising side effect it also made my IBS go away. It is in fact prescribed for this in non depressives. So now I am back on it, and sure enough, my belly feels good.
So, can I go back to eating wheat? Gluten free bread, pasta, etc. sucks. Thanks!

Hi Bud - it's really important that you find out for sure if you have a true gluten intolerance in the form of celiac disease. Your doctor can do a blood test for gluten antibodies - that's the first step (and if negative, the last step).

The catch is that you need to be eating gluten for a good 4-6 weeks before the test, or you'll get a false negative.

It's interesting that the drug is helping - that actually points to IBS, as those drugs affect serotonin levels in the gut, which is implicated in IBS. There is no reason I know of why that drug would help any type of gluten intolerance.

I'd go ahead and gradually re-introduce gluten in IBS friendly forms - white breads, pastas, etc. Follow up with your doc about the celiac test - you need to know if you have that or not, as celiac has all kinds of complications, many of which are not even GI related.

Also, avoiding wheat - not particularly gluten - may have been helping you - check here   And if it wasn't the insoluble fiber, it might have been the fructan, a FODMAP that some folks with IBS react to. That can cause bloating and gas.

It sounds like this is IBS, and not celiac, but you do need your GI doc to confirm that. In the meantime, I'm glad you are feeling better, and hopefully you can now get some more foods back in your diet as well.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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