Gluten Sensitivity: Does It Happen More Frequently During Menopause?
You may not even realize it, but you may have a gluten sensitivity. What this generally means is that you cannot eat gluten, a sticky protein found in wheat, barley and rye, without having some adverse affect. Because some people may not experience overt symptoms, they may not realize that they are sensitive to gluten. Approximately 12% of the population has gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity is often confused with celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease. The biggest distinction between them is that gluten sensitivity does not cause intestinal damage, while celiac disease does. With celiac disease, the body attacks the villi in the large intestine which prevents food and nutrients from being properly absorbed. This can create a host of problems such as malabsorption and malnutrition. However, celiac disease can be on a continuum from mild to severe.
There is a blood test which you can take which detects whether or not the immune cells produce antibodies in response to eating gluten. If the test is positive, a physician may want to do a colonoscopy to determine if intestinal damage has occurred. In either case, the so called "cure" for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is to stop eating gluten.
Some of the most common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include weight gain, headaches, depression and extreme fatigue. Some symptoms of celiac disease in adults include, but are not limited to abdominal bloating and pain, weight loss, depression and anxiety, arthritis, joint pain, tingling numbness in hands and feet and an itchy skin rash known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). Eczema may also occur, as well as a tendency towards acne.
For some reason, gluten sensitivity and or celiac may appear more frequently during peri-menopause and menopause. The dramatic hormonal changes which occur during these transitions may be the biological trigger for these conditions.
Having a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease may seem overwhelming at first because gluten is ubiquitous; it is hidden in so many of the foods we eat. Who would think that it would end up in salad dressing or soy sauce? However, there are more gluten free options now than ever. But, be careful as many of these items, particularly baked goods, are high in carbohydrates and calories. While delicious, a gluten free bagel has approximately 400 calories. This is particularly important for women who are going through perimenopause and menopause as we may put on extra weight because of hormonal fluctuations. There are also a few meal delivery services that make delicious gluten free entrees if that is in your budget.
If you find or suspect you have a gluten sensitivity or even celiac disease, there are a multitude of websites which can give support and valuable information.
Dr. Teri Dourmashkin received her Doctorate in Health Education from Columbia University. She is the Founder and President of La Vie Celeste Skin Care Inc.La Vie Celeste brings you all natural anti-aging skincare featuring R-Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant.Suitable for all skin types, La Vie Celeste is the perfect union of science and nature. To learn more visit La Vie Celeste Skin Care.