This is quite a familiar story in the clinic. We find that many clients who have tested negative for coeliac disease still have a bewildering array of digestive symptoms that cause them much misery. Often these people definitely improve when encouraged to follow a gluten-free diet, despite the fact that they are not actually suffering from coeliac disease. Your doctor is not wrong, but neither are you - and there is actually some scientific explanation for this seeming contradiction.
A study published in 2012 showed that gluten sensitivity exists as distinct from coeliac disease. It further estimated that gluten sensitivity is six times more prevalent than coeliac disease. The researchers went on to explain that gluten sensitivity can cause abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhoea and constipation, and should be considered when gastrointestinal symptoms are present but coeliac disease tests are negative. The researchers confirmed that gluten sensitivity responds well to a gluten-free diet, which explains why so many people feel better when following a gluten-free diet.
Jackson JR et al. Psychiatr Q. 2012; 83 (1): 91-102