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What digestive problems are associated with wheat sensitivity?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Wheat is a grain found in most breads, crackers, pasta and many other foods. Two different problems associated with wheat can occur. First, some people seem to have a wheat intolerance that triggers symptoms of cramping, abdominal distention, bloating, flatulence or diarrhea. This is not a true allergy, but restriction of wheat and wheat-containing products may help to relieve symptoms.

Second, some people have celiac sprue (also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy or non-tropical sprue), which is a disorder caused by a specific sensitivity to gluten. Gluten is the protein component of wheat, barley, rye and oats that imparts the sticky character to dough. It can cause a true allergic reaction that damages the wall of the intestine. This results in impaired fat and nutrient absorption.
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...

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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.