Posted By Author on February 22, 2023
To most people, the remedy for celiac disease seems simple: Don’t eat gluten. What many people don’t know is celiac disease is a complex disease that is often misunderstood.
At Charleston GI, we’re here to bust the myths of celiac disease and guide you through your diagnosis.
Read on to learn more about the facts and fallacies of celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine and is triggered by ingesting gluten. Celiac disease can cause long-term digestive issues and keeps those who suffer from absorbing nutrients they need.
It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have celiac disease in the U.S., approximately 1% of the population. Celiac disease can affect both men and women of all ages and races, and it has been found to be genetic.
Celiac disease symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Individuals with celiac disease may exhibit symptoms such as anemia, osteoporosis, malnutrition, or reproductive issues, just to name a few.
Fallacy #1: Gluten-free is the magic fix
You may believe that a gluten-free diet is the immediate solution for celiac disease. Gluten is what triggers celiac disease, but your small intestine may not immediately respond to the gluten-free diet.
The improvement rates of celiac disease vary from person to person, depending on the damage already done to your small intestine. Gluten may also be hiding in unsuspecting foods, so those who are still struggling long after a diagnosis may need to revisit their diet or talk with a registered dietitian.
While a gluten-free diet works for many, researchers are working on developing other treatments for those whose celiac disease may be unresponsive to a gluten-free lifestyle.
Fallacy #2: You should only use gluten free bath and body products
The usage of gluten-free shampoos, cosmetics, or skincare items is purely a personal choice! Science has shown that gluten isn’t absorbed through the skin, so most topical products are safe. If you have celiac disease, you may want to avoid skin products with gluten if there’s a chance it could be ingested – like lipstick or hand lotion. It’s totally up to you!
Fallacy #3: I feel better when I avoid gluten, so I probably have celiac disease.
Many people report feeling better after eliminating gluten, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have celiac disease. To confirm whether or not you have celiac disease, it’s important to receive a clinical diagnosis.
Feeling better on a gluten-free diet could mean you simply have a gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, or a sensitivity to fructans, a type of carbohydrate. If you suspect celiac disease, let our team at Charleston GI help you out!
Fallacy #4: This restaurant has a gluten-free menu, so I know it’s safe to eat here.
As hopeful as this is, it’s important to be cautious when ordering from a restaurant’s gluten-free menu. While the intention is good, many restaurants don’t have extensive knowledge of celiac disease to understand the due diligence needed to create a safe meal.
If you’re unsure of the restaurant’s practices, just ask! Many restaurants will meet your requirements, even without a gluten-free menu. Simply, express your medically necessary needs to help ensure you get to enjoy a safe meal on your night out.
Celiac disease looks different for most everyone diagnosed, but living with celiac disease can be very manageable, especially when you have a team like Charleston GI on your side. Managing celiac disease is a lifelong commitment but mapping out your new diet and routine can help you restore your health and feel better each day.
Our team is here to help support you, both physically and emotionally, with your celiac disease diagnosis. While it can be daunting thinking about going gluten-free for life, we can help provide fun recipes, mental health assistance, and encouragement.
Being diagnosed with celiac disease can call for a serious life evaluation about what you eat and how to stay healthy. Here at Charleston GI, our board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a wide variety of conditions, and we can help you with all the information you need to live your life with celiac disease.
We have four convenient Charleston area locations to choose from, in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads. There’s no referral needed, so schedule your appointment today, with Charleston GI!