Celiac disease and non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) are two conditions that can cause similar symptoms after eating gluten. However, they are two different conditions with different causes and treatments.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the small intestine after eating gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune system releases antibodies that attack the lining of the small intestine. This can cause damage to the villi, which are small finger-like projections that line the small intestine. The villi are responsible for absorbing nutrients from food, so damage to them can lead to malabsorption, which is a condition in which the body does not absorb enough nutrients from food.
Non-celiac wheat sensitivity is a condition in which people experience symptoms after eating gluten, but they do not have celiac disease. The exact cause of NCWS is not known, but it is thought to be due to a reaction to one or more proteins in wheat. Symptoms of NCWS can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, and cognitive problems.
The main difference between celiac disease and NCWS is that celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, while NCWS is not. This means that in celiac disease, the body's immune system is attacking itself, while in NCWS, the body is reacting to a foreign substance.
Another difference between celiac disease and NCWS is that celiac disease can cause damage to the small intestine, while NCWS does not. This is because in celiac disease, the immune system's attack on the small intestine can cause the villi to become damaged. In NCWS, the villi are not damaged, so there is no risk of malabsorption.
The treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet means that you must avoid all foods that contain gluten. This can be difficult, as gluten is found in many common foods. However, there are a number of gluten-free products available on the market.
There is no specific treatment for NCWS. However, many people with NCWS find that their symptoms improve when they avoid gluten. If you think you may have NCWS, it is important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you to determine if you have NCWS and can recommend a treatment plan.
Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between celiac disease and NCWS: