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The trouble with ...... Gluten
Recently I have been having digestion problems and could not work out what caused the problem. Foods that we eat are processed whereby our digestive system can no longer handle. The more processed foods we eat the more problems it causes.
Gluten or wheat products are causing such problems. There have been an increase amount of people who are becoming wheat or gluten intolerant.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is a food intolerance, known as coeliac disease. It can be inherited, or you can be born with it. If it is not diagnosed during infancy, it will only worsen as you get older. It is basically a disease in which you cannot absorb the protein found in foods such as gluten. Gluten is found in food types such as:
If you are allergic to gluten, this protein will react with the lining in your intestines (called the 'villi'). It damages them by causing the lining to get smaller (atrophy). This damage prevents the absorption of other foods eaten, and can cause a variety of symptoms, which include:
· Anaemia (from poor iron absorption)
· Weight loss
· Bloating (Which I have)
· Abdominal pain
Diagnosis should not be done by symptom alone. If you may suspect you are gluten intolerant, visit your doctor for further testing. Several tests can be done; some of these are called lactulose intolerance tests, xylose absorption tests, and shilling tests. These tests will determine any digestive malabsorption diseases. As if it's not gluten intolerance it may be something else such as wheat sensitive. I don't have Coeliac, however, I am Wheat sensitive. My digestion cannot handle wheat products. However to find the right diagnose to gluten intolerance, a biopsy of the intestine lining (the 'villi') is needed. This test is a gastroscopy procedure, which requires a day stay in hospital, while fasting from 6-12 hours prior to the procedure. The doctors need to take a closer look in the stomach and a short acting muscle relaxant is administered. A local anaesthetic is then sprayed down into your throat; so that you do not feel the insertion of a tube called a gastroscope, which will be inserted down your throat.
The gastroscope has a camera attached to view the the stomach on video at that time. The gastroscope also has small forceps attached; to enable the doctor to take a tiny sample of the stomach lining if necessary. This sample is taken to a laboratory for testing. During the time of the procedure, your doctor should be able to see on the video screen whether your stomach lining is damaged. If the lining is damaged, it will be a good indication of gluten intolerance; the sample taken will confirm this. If damage to the lining is unrepairable, there is a chance that over 7% of coeliacs can develop cancer. You must not be complacent when it comes to your health.
Unfortunately you will have to modify your eating habits. Depending on the damage to the lining of your intestines, you may need to seek gluten free foods. Your doctor may suggest you see a dietitian to discuss what foods you need to avoid. Once you begin to follow a gluten free diet, you will begin to feel much better, your symptoms should subside, and you will feel healthier.
Fortunately, I was not diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, however, I have become wheat sensitive. As I said before, my stomach cannot digest wheat products causing symptoms of bloating and heaviness.
I now have been seeking alternative medicine (Chinese Medicine) to provide relief to my symptoms. Every fortnight, I get acupuncture, cupping and herbs to strengthen the digestive system. My bloating has subsided, my diet is now gluten free and my body feels much better than before.
As a caution, we really need to eat more fresh organic foods. Eating too many processed foods will harm our bodies and causes problems in children, such as behaviour or learning.
Next time you go shopping, buy less processed foods and eat fresh. Your body will thank you.