Estimates indicate that up to 20 percent of North Americans, possibly as high as 30 per cent in some countries, cope with the painful and debilitating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to the American College of Gastroenterology, all patients with symptoms of IBS should be tested for celiac disease, a lifelong hereditary disorder which has some of the same symptoms.

Celiac disease can make IBS symptoms worse. In some cases, it might even be the cause.

There is no cure for IBS. Instead the focus is on a wide variety of treatments to relieve the symptoms, and one of the treatments is a high fibre diet, which includes whole grains and certain cereals. But the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten free diet for life. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Because of its sticky characteristics, it can also be found in certain other food products and even in some medications.

At-home Test Kit Now Available

Now there's a simple, accurate way to find out if you're susceptible to celiac disease. For the first time in Canada, Health Canada has approved the Biocard™ Celiac Test Kit, an at-home test that measures gluten antibodies from a fingertip blood sample. The test gives you a high degree of certainty that you are either developing the disease or already have it, but you still need to see your doctor for a confirmation.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease occurs when gluten triggers an abnormal response that damages the lining of the small intestine, interfering with your absorption of nutrients. The disease is hereditary and lifelong, and affects people differently. But many of the symptoms of celiac disease are the same for IBS such as diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain.

Left untreated, celiac disease increases the risk of malnutrition, osteoporosis (because of poor absorption of calcium and vitamin D), infertility, certain digestive cancers and other conditions such as Type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease. Research indicates that in North America, one person out of every 100 has celiac disease, and almost 97 per cent of those affected remain undiagnosed.

Celiac disease affects people differently and not all symptoms are obvious.

Classic celiac symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss and, in children, delayed growth. For others, the symptoms are subtler, such as such as bloating, or excess gas. Fatigue, weakness, joint pain and migraines -- symptoms typically not associated with the gut -- are also reported. Not surprisingly, the diagnosis is often irritable bowel syndrome, anemia, stress or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Average time for correct diagnosis of celiac disease - 12 years: According to a 2007 survey of the Canadian Celiac Association's more than 5000 members, the average time it took to be diagnosed was 12 years. Many reported consulting with three or more doctors before their diagnosis was confirmed.

The Process for Diagnosing Celiac Disease

With the Biocard™ Celiac Test Kit, a person can find out within 10 minutes if they have the antibodies associated with celiac disease. While the test even indicates if the disease is in its early stages, confirming the diagnosis requires a small bowel biopsy in which an endoscope is passed through the mouth into the stomach's upper intestine so that the lining can be examined and a biopsy taken.

The day your diagnosis is confirmed and you start your gluten-free diet, is the day you're on the road to recovery. It could also mark the beginning of your relief from the painful and distressing symptoms common to IBS. Celiac patients on the gluten-free diet with persisting bowel symptoms should seek medical help for other gut-related disorders such as colitis and Crohn's disease.

Information on celiac disease, the Biocard™ Celiac Test Kit, and links to key informational sites can be found at The kit can be purchased online, or at London Drugs, Rexall Pharma Plus, Price Smart, Save on Foods and other major Canadian retail chains.

About 2G Pharma Inc.

Founded by Karina Nelimarkka and Janet Monk, 2G Pharma markets the unique, patient-friendly celiac disease test kit first developed by AniBiotech in Finland. This kit has been redesigned for the Canadian market and is currently the only Health Canada approved point-of-care celiac disease test kit available. Information on celiac disease, the Biocard™ Celiac Test and links to key informational sites can be found at

2G Pharma Inc.