how does IBS differ from coeliac disease?
IBS is a chronic, relapsing and often lifelong functional gut disorder. In comparison, coeliac disease
is a lifelong autoimmune condition triggered by an intolerance to gluten
, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. However, both conditions can cause similar symptoms and this can result in misdiagnosis in some cases.
Whilst there is no specific test to confirm the diagnosis of IBS, a GP can usually diagnose IBS from typical symptoms
. In the absence of a gold standard diagnostic test there is a set of specific criteria which can be used to diagnose IBS.
However, a blood sample is often taken in order to rule out the presence of other conditions such as coeliac disease, ulcers, gut infections etc. The symptoms of these can sometimes be confused with IBS as they are similar.
In fact, the NICE Clinical Guideline on Diagnosis and Management of IBS in adults recommends that anyone who meets the diagnostic criteria of IBS should have an antibody test for coeliac disease. This should be undertaken to exclude a diagnosis of coeliac disease.
In contrast, there is a clear diagnostic process for coeliac disease. Following an initial blood test to screen for the presence of coeliac antibodies, a positive result will mean a further appointment at the hospital for an intestinal biopsy. The biopsy is considered the gold standard for coeliac disease and allows the doctors to examine the lining of the gut to confirm the changes which are characteristic of the condition.
What is IBS?
IBS is a common functional disorder of the gut (i.e. there is a problem with the function of the gut but the structure is normal).
What are the symptoms of IBS?
There a variety of symptons associated with IBS. The following should be accompanied by at least two of the following symptons.
How to manage IBS?
Diet and lifestyle factors may trigger or worsen the symptons of IBS.
Gluten and IBS
There is some research that shows certain individuals with IBS may experience relief from their symptons following a gluten free diet.
Wheat and IBS
In IBS, the consumption of wheat can be associated with an increase in symptoms.