Great review for ‘What’s Up With Your Gut?’

If you’ve read my post on  Why you bloat after eating bread and pasta (and lots of people seem to be reading it as it’s getting thousands of views per week), you may want to read more about similar gut complaints in my book ‘ What’s Up  With your Gut?‘  Why you bloat after eating bread and pasta and other gut problems co-written with Professor Julian Waters  and  published by Hammersmith Press.

Here is a recent review http://www.independentliving.co.uk/advice/whats-up-with-your-gut /

It’s available to buy here on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Up-Your-Gut-Problems/dp/1781610673

What’s up with your gut? Find the answers to bloating and diarrhoea in my new book

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

Continue reading What’s up with your gut? Find the answers to bloating and diarrhoea in my new book

Do you bloat after you eat bread or pasta? You may want to read this…..

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CAPTION: Pasta contains gluten which can cause bloating

When I first published this blog on non coeliac gluten sensitivity  three years ago I had no idea that it would cause such a stir and still be getting thousands of views  a week from  all over the world several years later.

As the hits grew and grew it got me thinking – if there’s this much interest  – how about a book?  My  experience as a health journalist interviewing  dozens of people with gut problems  for magazines and newspapers over 20 years had taught me that  most people with gut complaints wait an awful long time to  get to the bottom of what’s wrong with them.Some of them just give up and put up with it – letting their gut problems dictate their life and in some cases ruin it. What about if I could put all the information about gut problems in one place and help them along the way?

Luckily, I managed to enlist help and advice from Professor Julian Walters a consultant gastroenterologist at Imperial College in London and together we landed a book deal  with Hammersmith Press. Our book:’What’s Up With Your Gut? is scheduled to be published in  June 2016  and is available to pre-order at Waterstones  now https://www.waterstones.com/book/whats-up-with-your-gut/jo-waters/professor-julian-walters/9781781610671 . An e-book will be published in June too –  if you subscribe to the blog I’ll keep you updated.We hope you’ll find the book a really useful guide to all those  gut conditions that can make you feel  so uncomfortable – causing gas,bloating, diarrhoea, wind, burping and constipation. Some of the conditions the book  describes are quite easy to test for, others are diet-related or related to gut bacteria and infections or even in rare cases cancer. We’ve written the book for the millions of people worldwide like you who have troublesome guts – to help you find out what’s wrong and get your symptoms under control at long last.It’s not a replacement for seeing a doctor but it will  hopefully give you some useful pointers – in plain English too.

Now back to non coeliac gluten sensitivity……

It’s a mystery that has puzzled gastroenterologists for years. Why do they see so many patients who complain of bloating ,diarrhoea and stomach pain after eating foods  such as bread and pasta, but who test negative for coeliac disease? And more importantly why do many appear to get better when they switch to a gluten-free diet?

Yes, a minority  will test positive for coeliac disease , an auto immune condition where the body produces antibodies to gluten ,a protein found in wheat and other grains including barley and rye. The antibodies cause damage to the villi that line the small intestine (their job is to  absorb food). Eventually, the villi shrink and food and nutrients begin to pass through the  body without being absorbed leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Doctors can diagnose coeliac disease with a blood test for antibodies and a biopsy to test for damage to the lining of the gut. If patients test  positive they must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives and their symptoms will largely disappear unless they accidentally eat gluten hidden in restaurant meals  for instance.

‘Most were told they didn’t have coeliac disease and just told to get on with  it’, admits Dr Kamran  Rostami , consultant gastroenterologist at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Bedfordshire.’ I’ve  seen so many patients  like this, but  many of them told me they got better if they stopped eating foods containing gluten.’

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CAPTION: Is gluten causing your unexplained bloating?

Many gastroenterologists  like Dr Rostami now believe that these patients do actually have a medical condition:it’s called Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity  (NCGS)  and has similar symptoms to coeliac disease, but  does not appear to involve the immune system or damage the lining of the gut. Crucially though, the symptoms go away if the patients avoid foods containing gluten.

By no means all doctors believe NCGS exists – mainly because no one understands what causes it and there is no diagnostic test for it – but it is now  gaining wider acceptance , mainly due to a flurry of new research in the last three years – and doctors say this has been driven by patients.

Last November Dr Rostami wrote an article in the British Medical Journal  describing a patient who had been troubled by abdominal pain, diarrhoea ,bloating,joint pain,fatigue and many other symptoms. He tested negative for coeliac disease but his health improved dramatically after he switched to a gluten-free diet. After the article was published Dr Rostami received scores of  emails from doctors and patients wanting to know more about NCGS  and he is still receiving them.

Dr Rostami says : ‘It is now becoming clear that, besides those with coeliac disease or wheat allergy, there are patients with gluten sensitivity in whom neither allergic nor autoimmune mechanisms can be identified.

‘It has been estimated that, for every person with coeliac disease, there should be at least six or seven people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity may therefore affect 6 to 10 per cent of the general population. This means approximately 4 to 7 million people in the United Kingdom have this condition, and the vast majority are unaware of their sensitivity to gluten.’

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CAPTION: Is  the bread  basket to blame?

 What should you do if you think you have  NCGS?

Perversely, the advice is to carry on  eating foods containing gluten  at least until you can get tested for coeliac disease. ‘ It’s very important coeliac disease is eliminated first ‘, advises Professor David Sanders , a consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital , Sheffield, and chair of the charity Coeliac UK’s Medical Advisory Board.’ If this been eliminated then it might be worth a patient being put on a trial of a gluten-free diet – in my experience it does help in many cases.’

Today, I’ve written about the experiences of  50-year-old Sue Clark from Luton in the Daily Mail Good Health section http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2439660/How-wheat-intolerant–know-If-youre-feeling-bloated-tired-victim-hidden-epidemic.html Sue was recently diagnosed with NCGS , after suffering from bloating, fatigue  and diarrhoea since the age of eight. Sue had been told she had “grumbling appendix” as a child  when she suffered tummy cramps. Later she was told it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome that was to blame and  told to eat a high fibre diet which made her symptoms worse. In her thirties her GP just dismissed her symptoms as signs of stress.

But after seeing Dr Rostami earlier this year and testing negative for coeliac disease,Sue was eventually diagnosed with NCGS and switched to a gluten-free diet. Now her symptoms have disappeared. She’s got her energy back , has lost two stone and has no more stomach pain or diarrhoea. She just wishes she’d been diagnosed years ago .

The worrying thing is that there could potentially be millions of people just like Sue in the UK .If you know someone this article could help – please tell them  about  the site as this is exactly the reason I write this blog – to help people find out what’s up with their health.

In case you’re interested here are some other links to other articles I’ve written about gut problems;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2255492/Bile-acid-diarrhoea-For-40-years-doctors-said-I-IBS-In-fact-hormone-problem-cured-simple-pill.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1350238/Feel-bloated-Cramps-The-problem-BRAIN.html

ALL IMAGES : SHUTTERSTOCK