Many of the grains people consume regularly contain gluten. For instance, wheat has gluten, and products like pasta, crackers, bread, cereal, and various baked goods have wheat. When someone who has gluten sensitivity consumes one of these foods, they may experience gas, bloating, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Since so many foods contain gluten, it can make it quite difficult for someone to consume a well-balanced diet or just meal plan in general.
This often leads a person to seek out treatment for their gluten sensitivity. However, with so many specialists out there who can treat the same condition, it may leave you wondering who you should contact: an allergy doctor or a gastroenterologist.
Why an Allergist Can Help
An allergist can help manage gluten sensitivity since researchers believe gluten sensitivity may stem from the immune system. Researchers know a wheat allergy occurs when your immune system recognizes a protein in wheat as an invader. Therefore, eating wheat can trigger a reaction.
An allergist receives specialized training in allergies and the immune system. Therefore, an allergy doctor understands what’s triggering this response and how to diagnose it. They also have the necessary training to provide intervention and help reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
When an Allergist Can’t Help
An allergist isn’t the right physician to diagnose and treat celiac disease. Like gluten sensitivity, this condition causes a reaction to gluten. However, this is an autoimmune disorder, which means your body mistakenly attacks itself. In this case, the small intestine gets damaged when you consume gluten. As a result, your body won’t be able to absorb nutrients well. This malabsorption can lead to anemia. With celiac disease, you’re more likely to develop certain digestive cancers.
Since celiac disease is more than just a typical allergy and can lead to complications in the digestive system, patients with this condition should visit a gastroenterologist rather than an allergy doctor. This specialist can diagnose the condition and properly manage it.
Diagnosis by an Allergist
To check if you have gluten sensitivity, your allergist will begin the evaluation process by reviewing your medical history and symptoms as well as ordering some tests. Your allergist may begin with a blood test to rule out a wheat allergy. If the results are negative, your doctor may recommend trying exclusion. With this option, you remove all gluten from your diet for a designated period of time. After this period, your doctor will recommend reintroducing gluten. If your symptoms disappear when you eliminate gluten and reappear when you reintroduce it, you most likely have gluten sensitivity.
An allergist will usually recommend a gluten-free diet to manage your symptoms. Some patients can still consume a small amount of gluten without having a reaction. If this is the case for you, your doctor may put you on a low-gluten diet.
Gluten Sensitivity Treatment from an Allergy Doctor in Sarasota, FL
At Intercoastal Medical Center, our specialists provide the necessary testing to determine if your symptoms are from gluten sensitivity or something else. We will work with you to find the right solution to help you live a comfortable, symptom-free lifestyle.
Contact Intercoastal Medical Center, serving Sarasota, Bradenton, and the nearby areas, if you’re experiencing unpleasant digestive symptoms after consuming gluten. Optimizing your quality of life by reducing these symptoms starts by calling one of our locations or using our online appointment scheduling form.