Wheat and Digestion

When you’re shopping at the grocery store, you may choose food items made with wheat since they seem to be the healthier option. While it’s true that eating wheat can help digestion stay on track by bulking waste up and moving it along, too much wheat can be the culprit behind hemorrhoids and other digestive woes for some.

Wheat contains a protein called gluten, which has created a buzz in the medical field lately. Some people are intolerant to gluten, suffering from a condition called celiac disease. Those with the disease experience inflammation in the small intestine after eating gluten, which damages the lining of the intestine and makes it difficult to efficiently digest food and absorb nutrients.

Celiac disease has become more prevalent in recent years, yet many who have it remain undiagnosed since symptoms can vary from person to person and are similar to that of many other digestive disorders. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, gas or indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite (may also be increased or unchanged)
  • Diarrhea, either constant or intermittent
  • Lactose intolerance (common when the person is diagnosed, usually goes away after treatment)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stools that float, are foul smelling, or “fatty”
  • Unexplained weight loss

To make matters worse, chronic constipation and diarrhea may cause hemorrhoids, painful swollen veins around the anus or lower rectum. At-home and over-the-counter remedies exist to sooth symptoms, but if hemorrhoids persist or if you notice severe rectal bleeding, talk to your doctor or find a treatment center near you.

Blood tests can detect the presence of antibodies appearing in those with celiac disease. Although there is no cure for celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet regimen will allow the lining in the intestine to heal, symptoms to dissipate and digestion to return to normal. This should also allow hemorrhoids to heal and reduce the risk of recurrence.

For tips and recipes to aid in healthy bowel movements, check out the Butt Seriously blog.

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