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Food Sensitivities May Impact these Related Illnesses

Celiac Disease (CD)
Celiac disease is a problem with digesting gluten, which is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the body's natural defense system (immune system) damages the small intestine.

Symptoms of celiac disease can include gas, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting. Stools may be bulky, loose, and more frequent. The damage to the intestine also makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This can lead to anemia, osteoporosis or both.

Untreated celiac disease can make it hard for you to get the nutrients you need. Eating a variety of healthy foods that do not have gluten can help you keep your weight up and stay strong.

The main treatment for celiac disease is to avoid eating any foods that contain gluten. Even the smallest amount of gluten is harmful and can cause symptoms in some people.

Even if you don't have symptoms, you still need to avoid gluten to prevent damage to the intestine.

Some people with celiac disease need to avoid cow's milk and milk products when they first begin treatment. Most people can slowly add dairy foods back into their diet as the intestine heals. But they will still need to avoid foods with gluten for the rest of their lives.

Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)
This is a disorder characterized by the ingestion of wheat and gluten containing foods that are not autoimmune in origin resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Neurological symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, headaches and numbness of extremities may also occur. Other undesirable symptoms, that may seem unrelated such joint pain and dry eyes could also be a manifestation as well.

There are several reasons why this may occur:

  1. The hybridization of wheat of genetically modified (GMO) strains have rendered the wheat more antigenic.
  2. The non-digestible carbohydrate component of wheat known as the fructan is responsible for GI symptoms.
  3. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup(R), maybe the most important causal factor. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease.

Ulcerative colitis affects the colon and rectum. Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the lining of the large intestine, or colon. It usually affects the lower section (sigmoid colon) and the rectum. But it can affect the entire colon. In general, the more of the colon that’s affected, the worse the symptoms can be.

Ulcerative colitis can affect people of any age, but most people who have it are diagnosed before the age of 30. Experts are not sure what causes ulcerative colitis. They think it might be caused by the immune system overreacting to bacteria in the digestive tract.

Ulcerative colitis is not caused by stress, as people once thought. But if you have ulcerative colitis, stress can make it worse.

You are more likely to get ulcerative colitis if other people in your family have it.

The main symptoms are:

  • Belly pain or cramps
  • Bloody diarrhea or an urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Bleeding from the rectum

Some people also may have a fever, may not feel hungry, and may lose weight. In severe cases, people may have diarrhea 10 to 20 times a day.

Ulcerative colitis can also cause other problems, such as joint pain, eye problems, or liver disease. These symptoms are more common in people who have Crohn’s disease.

In most people, the symptoms come and go. Some people go for months or years without symptoms (remission). Then they will have a flare-up. About 5 to 10 out of 100 people with ulcerative colitis have symptoms all the time.

Ulcerative colitis can lead to more serious problems. It can cause scarring of the bile duct. This can lead to liver damage. In rare cases, severe disease causes the colon to swell to many times its normal size (toxic megacolon). This can be deadly and requires emergency treatment.

People who have ulcerative colitis for 8 years or longer have a greater chance of getting colon cancer.

To diagnose ulcerative colitis, Dr. Fine will ask you about your symptoms, do a physical exam, and may require that you have a number of tests. Testing can help Dr. Fine rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or diverticulitis.

Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation in the bowel resulting from immune system malfunction. Research indicates that in people with Crohn’s disease, the immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body from invading substances, actually mistakes some bacteria and other organisms normally found in the intestines for foreign invaders. The body then sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines to fight these so-called invaders. This overproduction of white blood cells results in the inflammation of the intestines. Prolonged inflammation can lead to ulcerations and injury to portions of the bowel.
 
Studies indicate that there may be several factors that may contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease. Foreign substances in the environment may trigger the disease. Genetics may play a role, as Crohn’s disease may be inherited. However, if someone in your family has Crohn’s disease, it doesn’t mean you will definitely get it.

The most common initial symptoms of Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea. Pain usually arises at or below the navel, often in the lower right portion of the abdomen. These symptoms tend to show up after meals. Other symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue

Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common intestinal condition. Its cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. Roughly, 30% of Americans have IBS. It affects women about twice as often as men.

IBS is characterized by abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, gassiness, nausea, cramps, bloating and other symptoms.

The cause of IBS occurs when food that is passed through the digestive system by means of peristalsis, a wave-like series of movements made by muscles in the wall of the digestive system, that normally occur AFTER meals, is occurring sporadically in unusual patterns. It may go on for extended periods of time or it may take place at a much slower pace. IBS is any condition in which the colon does not function normally.

Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE)
This inflammatory condition, commonly referred to as EE, effects the walls of the esophagus because it becomes infiltrated with eosinophils. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell associated with allergic reactions. Individuals, who acquire EE, develop a series of narrowing rings or strictures within their esophagus that over time can seriously affect their ability to swallow. The symptoms associated with this disease are heartburn, reflux, chest pain, and swallowing difficulties.

Eosinophilic esophagitis most commonly occurs in individuals with other allergic conditions such as hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis. The exact mechanism of this illness is unknown but is felt that this illness is precipitated by an allergic reaction to foods. Diagnostic options include esophagogastroduodenoscopy. This test allows the physician to look directly into the esophagus and inspect the lining and also take tissue samples from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Treatment for this illness includes acid blockers, topical and/or oral steroids, as well as an elimination diet.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This disease commonly known as GERD is a condition in which acid from the stomach regurgitates back into the esophagus causing symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, coughing, chest discomfort, and hoarseness.

A test used to assist in the diagnosis of GERD includes esophagogastroduodenoscopy. This test allows the physician to look directly into the esophagus and inspect the lining and also take tissue samples from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Conducting a food sensitivity test can help identify which foods could be worsening your symptoms.

Treatment consists of an anti-reflux diet, avoiding foods, which result in decreasing the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, which results in allowing acid to reflux back into the esophagus. However, there is recent evidence to suggest that other foods may have a direct injurious effect on the esophagus. Additional treatment options may include acid blockers, as well as an elimination diet.

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