Research suggests that gluten sensitivity impacts about six to seven percent of the population and that many people don’t recognize gluten allergy symptoms. If you or someone you know is wondering about signs of gluten intolerance, read on.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. When someone is gluten intolerant, it means that the protein causes digestive problems, including gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The symptoms of gluten allergy can be confused with other conditions though. For example, gluten allergy symptoms can be confused with Celiac disease. Celiac and gluten intolerance are not the same conditions.
Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine. Gluten intolerance is an overreaction to a specific food that leads to uncomfortable symptoms. In the case of food allergies like gluten, some symptoms can be life-threatening.
Signs You Are Gluten Intolerant
While each case is a little different, there are some classic gluten intolerance symptoms. Having a full view of the signs of intolerance can help you when you sit down with a doctor to discuss any digestive problems you are having.
- Bloating: When you feel like your stomach is swollen and full of gas after you eat, you can feel miserable. Bloating is a common reaction to overeating or eating gassy foods, but it can also be a sign of gluten intolerance. One study suggested that 87 percent of people who suspected gluten sensitivity complained about bloating.
- Diarrhea and constipation: Regular diarrhea or constipation seems to be common among people who are gluten intolerant. About 50 percent of gluten sensitive people experience regular bouts of diarrhea while 25 percent experience constipation. People with Celiac also experience diarrhea and constipation, but often their feces is also foul-smelling due to poor absorption of nutrients.
- Abdominal pain: This can be the result of various health issues, including gluten intolerance. Research indicates that about 83 percent of individuals with gluten sensitivity experience some level of abdominal pain after consuming gluten.
- Headaches: Studies have shown that gluten intolerant people may be more prone to migraine headaches. Research in this area is ongoing. Along with a headache, people report feeling tired and nauseous.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired has been linked to a number of disease and gluten intolerant individuals are often tired. In some cases, it can be linked to severe diarrhea and iron deficiency. One of the difficulties with fatigue is that it can impair daily function.
- Skin issues: Gluten intolerance can impact the skin. In fact, a condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manifestation of Celiac It can be very itchy and is characterized by red water-filled bumps. Interestingly, some skin conditions have been known to improve when a person is on a gluten-free diet. Psoriasis, Alopecia, and Chronic urticaria, which is a skin condition that looks like pink and red lesions with a pale center can clear up.
- Depression: Studies have linked Celiac to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, there is a condition called, gluten ataxia that involves loss of motor skills and can cause distress. Those sensitive to gluten have reported feeling depressed or anxious, but not a lot of scientific evidence has been gathered, so more study is required.
- Brain fog: Difficulty concentrating or having short-term memory lapses is called “Brain Fog.” It is considered one of the top symptoms among people with celiac disease, gluten ataxia, and gluten sensitivity. It is important to note that other conditions can cause brain fog as well, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Unexplained weight loss: People who have a sensitivity to gluten tend to shy away from food, which can lead to weight loss. Gluten sensitive individuals can also suffer from diarrhea that causes weight loss.
- Autoimmune disorders: Research shows that there are many people with autoimmune disorders that are gluten intolerant. This does not mean that you will automatically be sensitive to gluten because you suffer from an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune diseases are thought to be genetically linked.
- Joint and muscle pain: Some people who suffer from gluten intolerance can have an inflammatory reaction that leads to swelling, as well as joint and muscle pain.
- Leg or arm numbness and tingling: People who suffer from Celiac are known to experience leg or arm numbness, which is a symptom that usually stems from nerve damage. In some cases, peripheral neuropathy seems to impact gluten-sensitive Some research suggests it has something to do with the anti-gluten antibodies that some individuals produce in response to consuming gluten. Some individuals with gluten allergy complain that they feel tingling sensations 24/7 in their arms, legs, or feet.
There are many signs and symptoms of gluten allergy, but we have to remember that there could be another explanation for many of the symptoms we’ve outlined. If you experience some of these signs on a regular basis without any apparent reason, you just might be having a reaction to gluten. You can try temporarily removing gluten from your diet to see if it helps; however, it is wise to see a doctor.
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