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What is celiac sprue (gluten sensitivity)?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Celiac sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a disorder caused by a specific sensitivity to the grain products wheat, barley, rye and oats. New research conducted at the University of Maryland shows that as many as one in every 150 people in the United States may have celiac sprue. Having a family member with the diagnosis increases the likelihood that you will have it, as does having diarrhea and/or iron deficiency anemia. A blood test is available to screen for the condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...
Celiac sprue is a medical term that describes a condition found in individuals with an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, a dietary protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The allergic reaction causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine, which is the part of the body between the stomach and large intestines where nutrients are absorbed. As a result, many people with celiac sprue may develop signs of malabsorption because the bowel becomes inflamed and will not properly absorb nutrition. In this case, certain complications may arise, including iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, bone fractures, defects in dental enamel, infertility, miscarriages or menstrual irregularity, impaired blood clotting and recurrent sores in the mouth. Many patients with celiac sprue may also have diarrhea and weight loss.

The disorder is also known as nontropical sprue, idiopathic sprue, celiac disease, gluten-sensitive enteropathy and gluten-induced enteropathy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.