What’s the Difference in IBD and IBS? Part 4, Celiac

What’s the Difference in IBD and IBS? Part 4, Celiac

It Could Be Worse

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final installment in a series of columns about the similarities and the differences among IBD, Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS and celiac disease. Read parts one here, two here, and three here

Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis (UC) and other autoimmune diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can be confusing and hard to recognize.

These diseases can be so different, and yet alike, that the distinctions among them can be hard to understand. Knowing what these differences are, and which disease you or your friends suffer from, can help you understand the differences. Here, we’ll look at IBD and celiac.

Celiac disease, also spelled coeliac, is often miscategorized as an inflammatory bowel disease. Celiac is considered to be an autoimmune reaction to gluten.

And although celiac is not a part of the IBD umbrella, gluten does cause an immune response to attack within the body, much like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. But, like IBD, Celiac is also considered an autoimmune disease.

Water and crackers
Crackers may contain gluten. (Photo by Mary Horsley)

Gluten, found in bread, pasta and similar foods, wheat and barley, causes inflammation and reaction within people who are intolerant. The small bowel is often affected, leaving patients to suffer many symptoms relatable to IBD, such as diarrhea, bloating, pain and vomiting.

With celiac disease, a blood test can help with diagnosis, a tissue transglutaminase antibodies test (tTG-IgA), and a biopsy from the small bowel also are used for diagnosis. Celiac patients can maintain healthy lifestyles through gluten-free diets and avoiding gluten cross-contamination as much as possible.

Within IBD, Crohn’s and UC are members of the autoimmune disease category, and are believed to be caused by factors including genetics, environment and an immune system gone renegade. Neither has a cure.

They involve chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system and can manifest with many symptoms, inside the body and out.

Crohn’s and colitis can cause patients to suffer from rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, tenesmus, pain, weight loss, fatigue, fever and other symptoms. Both can be managed with immunosuppressant medications, steroids, biologics, and even surgery.

Although the body may cause many ailments and sometimes they are confused for one another, for me and my Crohn’s, It Could Be Worse.


Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.

One comment

  1. Kat says:

    I think it would be prudent in this context that interestingly, dietary treatment for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis – namely SCD or the IBD-AID – also remove gluten (in addition to added sugars and other starches) from the diet. While seen as an inconvenient treatment, dietary intervention is also much safer and has higher long term remission rates. This can’t be a coincidence, as both celiac and IBD are tied to the immune response.

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