Until following a gluten free diet, many people who suffer with coeliac disease have loose bowels and may never have experienced constipation before. However, once diagnosed and following a gluten free diet, they may notice that they actually start having problems with going to the loo. So what is causing this? Are they still having gluten in their diet?
Simply put – no, it is unlikely to be any gluten but instead some interesting changes to their diet when gluten isn’t included any more. Once you understand these changes, you can tackle the problem.
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They are not reacting to the gluten anymore.
Their previous loose stools or even just regular stools may have been due to having inflammation in their bowel which was caused by the body reacting to gluten. Now this has been taken out, this process is not happening anymore and so they need to address dietary and lifestyle changes to get their gut moving.
Reduction in fibre.
Many gluten products such as bread, pasta and cereals provide us with a good contribution towards our daily fibre intake. Simply removing these and not thinking carefully about their replacements will reduce fibre intake, resulting in constipation.
Reduction in fructans.
Fructans are a type of ‘FODMAP.’ Fructans are found commonly in wheat based products and work in the gut to draw in water and produce gas. Fructans are also a prebiotic which helps the good bacteria in your gut thrive. This combination goes a long way to helping you open your bowels and so removing wheat based products means that you are missing out on this. You can however, ensure your diet is high in other FODMAP based foods
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.