How Gluten Sensitivity Is Diagnosed

Just the thought of fresh-baked bread, a warm cinnamon roll, or your favorite birthday cake is probably enough to get your mouth watering. But for those who react negatively to foods containing gluten, it can translate into abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, skin rash, or more, according to theĀ Cleveland Clinic. Thus, enjoying one of these treats can cause more problems than they're worth.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities are two conditions that may be easy to mix up as they share similar symptoms (per Cleveland Clinic). However, experts suggest they are very different. While gluten sensitivity affects about 6% of the U.S. population, celiac disease affects around 1%. Still, many healthcare providers don't acknowledge or understand gluten sensitivities (via Verywell Health). Furthermore, gluten sensitivity tests are not widely regarded as reliable or accurate, and therefore, it can be challenging to get a proper diagnosis. However, there are some ways to test yourself.

Keeping a food diary could help identify the problem

IgG and IgE food sensitivity tests, which have become popular and widely available over recent years, test for specific antibody responses to many different types of foods. An elevated antibody response to a specific food might indicate a sensitivity to that food, but the tests are not always reliable (via Naturopathic Pediatrics). But for those who want every bit of information available, it could provide some useful clues.

A cheaper and easier way to know if you have a sensitivity is by conducting an elimination diet (via Globe and Mail). Allergist Stuart Carr explains, "You keep a food diary for four to six weeks, and write down whatever symptom you're worried about... And then if you identify a food or two potentially from the diary, you take it out of the diet for two or three weeks." The idea is to see if symptoms improve after removing the food from your diet.