Gut problems are incredibly common and plague millions of people on a daily basis.Sadly, many people never find a satisfactory explanation or diagnosis for their painful and embarrassing symptoms.
Whether you bloat after eating bread or pasta, suffer cramping pains in your abdomen or experience bouts of watery diarrhoea or suffer unexplained constipation despite eating lots of fibre – it can be a battle to get to the bottom of what’s really up with your gut.
With coeliac disease for instance, where the body’s immune system mistakes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley or rye for a pathogen and mounts an inflammatory response, it can take an average of 13 years to get a diagnosis and in the UK it’s been estimated that 75 per cent of cases go undiagnosed.
It’s the same with a whole host of other gut conditions -including bile acid diarrhoea and non coeliac gluten sensitivity to name just a few.With this in mind, I’ve co-authored a new book with gastroenterologist Professor Julian Walters from Imperial Healthcare in London called ‘What’s Up with Your Gut?’ (Hammersmith Press £14.99 on Amazon).
The book discusses possible causes for gut problems and helps you spot key symptoms for different diseases. These include familiar ones you will heard of including IBS ,coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease but also some lesser known but surprisingly common conditions you might not have come across before, including bile acid diarrhoea, non coeliac gluten sensitivity, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and microscopic colitis. There are also useful sections on spotting the signs of cancer, indigestion GORD, globus sensation and pretty much every other gut complaint you can think of!
There’s also lots of information about FODMAPs (short chain carbohydrates or sugars) and the foods you should try and cut down on; tips on how to get tested for lactose intolerance and other food intolerances.
Seven mystery gut problems you probably haven’t heard of
Here’s a taster of seven mystery gut complaints that you can read all about in the book.
- Bile acid diarrhoea: Up to one million people in the UK could have bile acid diarrhoea (BAD) also known as bile acid malabsorption – according to some estimates. It’s a particularly nasty type of diarrhoea which can produce up to 10 watery bowel movements a day. The good news is that there’s a test and a treatment available for it.
- Non coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS): It’s estimated between four and seven million people could have NCGS in the UK. Despite NCGS producing symptoms similar to coeliac disease including bloating, diarrhoea, and weight loss and it responding to a gluten-free diet – blood tests and biopsies are negative for coeliac disease.
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth):SIBO is another common cause of watery diarrhoea. It’s caused by too much bacteria growing in the small intestine and results in fatty stools, weight loss, bloating or even anaemia. Some experts have proposed it is a possible cause of Irritable Bowel syndrome.
- Microscopic colitis: This can be a cause of severe, watery,persistent diarrhoea, bloating and pain and is caused by inflammation of the colon and estimated to affect one in 1,000 people. The inflammation is only visible under a microscope and can be missed in standard biopsies.
- Globus sensation: This is the medical name for feeling that you have a lump in your throat (when no physical lump exists) and accounts for one in 20 referrals to ENT specialists.
- Pelvic Radiation Disease: PRD can cause 21 different bowel symptoms including bloating and diarrhoea with loose and fatty stools and is caused by radiation treatment for cancer in the pelvic area. Symptoms can develop long after treatment so patients may not realise they are connected to their radiotherapy.
- Slow transit constipation: Between 15 and 30 per cent of patients with chronic constipation have slow transit where their gut doesn’t move food and waste at the normal rate. Eating more fibre will make it worse – leading to years of discomfort unless the right diagnosis is made.
I’ll be blogging about some of these conditions in more depth shortly but just thought I’d give you the heads up that the book is now available to buy (there’s a Kindle version too). I really hope the book helps you find out what is up with your gut – the inspiration for it came from the very encouraging feedback I’ve had on the blog so thanks to everyone who has commented and read WUWYH. Big thanks go to Professor Julian Walters for his help and guidance with the research and writing of the book too.
Here’s a link to an article in the Daily Mail about the book which will tell you more (the fact that it has been shared online 1.5K times means there are clearly a lot of people out there affected by these issues). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3820080/The-7-mystery-gut-problems-doctor-not-spot-Millions-patients-left-undiagnosed.html