Penn State Logo People suffering from celiac disease are allergic to wheat and stay away from foods containing gluten. Putting forth another negative side to it, scientists at Penn State, Syracuse University and Drexel University have revealed that women suffering from wheat allergy may be more prone to depression and disordered eating habits, even when they hold on to a gluten-free diet.

In this analysis, around 177 women aged 18 or above and diagnosed with celiac disease were surveyed. They were asked to fill in questionnaires regarding their negative experiences, conformity to a gluten free diet, stress management, eating habits and body image.

Although most patients seemed to function better if they adhered to a gluten-free diet, many women who combated the disease successfully reported feeling stressful, depressed and displeased over body weight and shape as compared to normal people.

“It is easy to see how people who are not managing their disease well can frequently feel unwell and, therefore, be more stressed and have higher rates of depression. But researchers had not carefully looked at whether people who are effectively managing celiac disease exhibit a greater risk for such difficulties,” commented Josh Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health and medicine, Penn State.

However, the team is not clear if celiac disease leads to depression or if women suffering from both these conditions tend to succumb to disordered eating. The analysts plan to extend the study to gauge the link between stress, disordered eating habits and celiac disease.

The analysis will be published in the future issue of Chronic Illness.