Common Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
For some individuals, symptoms may include bloating, gas, and irregularity with alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea, joint pain, headaches and mouth sores. These symptoms are mild in comparison to some, which can include severe migraines, anemia, diabetes, arthritis and, if left unaddressed, various forms of cancer. Thankfully however, most individuals with gluten intolerance can avoid all of the above-listed symptoms by avoiding the consumption of foods that contain gluten.
Please note this is very short and simple list of gluten intolerance symptoms. See my article specific to this topic for more comprehensive coverage of these symptoms: Gluten Intolerance.
Here Are A Few More Common Foods That Might Contain Wheat:
As you can see, many of the foods/ingredients arent even grains. Living with a wheat allergy requires a good bit of research and dedication. You should also keep an Epinephrine pen in case of an anaphylactic emergency. Of course, you should consult your doctor before getting an EpiPen.
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Key Points About Celiac Disease
- Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
- In both gluten intolerance and celiac disease, the body mounts an immune response against gluten, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, bloating and gas, and constipation.
- Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
- In people with celiac disease, repeated exposure to gluten damages the small intestine lining, which compromises its ability to absorb certain nutrients.
- The intestinal damage in celiac disease caused by repeated exposure to gluten can lead to long-term problems beyond immediate digestive symptoms, such as malnutrition, decreased bone density, infertility, nervous system damage, and skin rashes.
- Adhering to a gluten-free diet should mitigate symptoms of gluten intolerance and prevent further intestinal damage for those with celiac disease.
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How To Reduce Gluten Intake
While people with celiac disease must exclude gluten from their diet as soon as a doctor has diagnosed the condition, many people with gluten intolerance slowly reduce the consumption of gluten, rather than cutting it out straightaway.
It can help if a person starts by including one gluten-free meal per day before slowly adding more.
It may not be beneficial for everyone with gluten intolerance to cut gluten out of their diet entirely, as peoples symptoms will vary in their severity.
Some people may be able to consume small amounts of gluten without experiencing any symptoms.
The majority of people with gluten intolerance, however, may want to eliminate gluten from their diet gradually.
When To Seek Care
Consult your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease if:
- You have diarrhea or digestive discomfort lasting for more than two weeks
- You have a family member with the condition
- You have a risk factor such as type 1 diabetes
Consult your childs doctor if your child:
- Is pale, irritable or failing to grow
- Has a potbelly and bulky, foul-smelling stools
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How Long Does Gluten Withdrawal Last
Everyone wants a specific answer regarding how long gluten withdrawal will last. The problem is that no specific answer can be given due to significant individual variation in: gluten consumption, physiology, lifestyles, and duration over which gluten was consumed. It also may make a difference as to whether you decided to taper your gluten or quit cold turkey.
Some people may not notice any major symptoms at all when stopping gluten. Most people feel noticeably better after 2 to 4 weeks of complete gluten discontinuation. Others may experience protracted cravings and withdrawals that persist for several months. It is very difficult for some people to give up diets with high gluten for numerous reasons such as: foods with gluten can be addicting, they can lead to temporary pleasure or mood boosts , and they can alter the way we metabolize food.
When going through gluten withdrawal, realize that your body needs to recalibrate its metabolism, gut biome, and other physiological functions. Therefore it may take awhile before all withdrawal symptoms to clear up and noticeably improve. Understand that many of these symptoms are a direct cause of eliminating the gluten-derived opioids from daily consumption.
What Are The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Gas, a swollen belly, and bloating. This happens because the small intestine can’t absorb nutrients from food. You may also have mild stomach pain, but it usually isn’t severe.
- Abnormal stools. Diarrhea or bulky, loose , pale, frothy, and foul-smelling stools often occur. The stools may contain a large amount of fat and may stick to the sides of the toilet bowl, making them hard to flush. Children and adults often have the same types of symptoms. But intestinal problems, such as constipation, are more likely to occur in children.
- Weight loss. Adults and children may have unexplained weight loss despite having a normal appetite. Younger children may fail to gain weight and grow as expected. This is called failure to thrive.
- Fatigue and weakness. Celiac disease can cause a general lack of energy and strength. Sometimes poor nutrient absorption causes fatigue and weakness.
- Vomiting. Some people may get sick after eating gluten. Children are more likely than adults to have this reaction.
- Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet .
Symptoms may come and go. They may be very mild and go completely unnoticed. Or they may be severe symptoms that impact your daily life.
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How To Ease A Glutened Stomach
So the worst has happened you have a glutened stomach. Youve had an unfortunate, unintentional exposure to gluten thats also known as glutening or being glutened. And now you need to sort it out.
Its hard to guard against. About 1/64 of a teaspoon of gluten less than a visible crumb can cause severe discomfort to someone with gluten sensitivity, and severe intestinal damage to a celiac.
Perhaps it took place on Sunday when you and your friends had brunch at a restaurant that did not ensure their menu was gluten-free. Or maybe you ate those delicious flour-free cookies your grandma insisted you have. You might even be completely unsure how it really happened and have been accidentally glutened.
Many of those who are sensitive to gluten or have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease celiac and follow a strict diet have been there and been glutened.
Are Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease The Same Thing
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different. People with celiac disease have an autoimmune response to gluten. This means their bodies try to fight against gluten as if it were a virus. This reaction causes inflammation and damage to their digestive tracts. Celiac disease is the result of an abnormal gene. People with celiac disease also have high levels of certain antibodies in their blood, which are substances that fight gluten.
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease cause a lot of the same symptoms. But people with gluten sensitivity dont have an abnormal gene or antibodies in their blood.
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The Real Problem With Grains And Pain
If you are dealing with any kind of pain, then dietary changes might be in your future. We Americans have been led to believe that certain foods are good for us, but our immune system often sees some foodstuffs as the enemy. Do you have brain fog, headaches, fatigue, loss of energy, pain in your bones, muscles, and joints, numbness in your arms or legs, skin rashes or depression? If you answered yes to any of these, then its time to ditch certain grains, and Ill explain why!Gliadin is the protein in wheat that can cause an autoimmune reaction in some, where the body begins to attack its own organs it is also associated with fibromyalgia and spondyloarthritis. Celiac disease is the genetic autoimmune disease to wheat that damages the villi in the intestines, leading to inflammation, malabsorption, malnutrition, infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders and other autoimmune diseases. One percent of the population has celiac disease, but many people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and other types of painful digestive disorders. However, not all people who react to gluten have celiac disease. The term utilized for those who dont have celiac, but have a definite reaction to the gluten in grains, is non-celiac gluten sensitivity . Food sensitivities like NCGS lead to pain and inflammation because they over-stimulate the immune system. Do you have symptoms of an over-active immune system?
Silent Reflux And Gluten
We talk about silent reflux when digestive juices not only seep up into the esophagus but travel all the way up to the throat, causing irritation there.
Typical symptoms are:
- postnasal drip
- sour taste in the mouth
Unlike GERD, silent reflux often doesnât cause heartburn at all, symptoms are only experienced in the throat.
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Sugar Fuels The Fire Roaring In Your Body
Heres 141 reasons why sugar ruins your health but I want to focus on what it feeds.
Carbohydrates and Sugars are the primary food for the bacteria in our gut. Bacteria live on sugar thats normal. What isnt normal is the type of bacteria found overgrowing in the gut of a Celiac patient. Normally theres a balance between good and bad bacteria.
When the delicate gut flora balance gets upset, opportunistic or pathogenic bacteria can quickly take over and cause Gut Dysbiosis or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth . One reason Celiacs frequently have gut dysbiosis is a result of the damage to the villi of the small intestine. During the active stages of Celiac Disease, the villi arent working properly and carbohydrate malabsportion can occur .
Heres where the gluten-free diet fits into all this
The most common sugar consumed in the standard gluten-free diet is sucrose . Sucrose is made-up of one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule bonded together to create a disaccharide . Sucrose gets broken down by the digestive process into monosaccharide molecules to be absorbed by the gut.
Heres the catch: the main splitter for these chemical bonds is the micro-villi, which we just discussed are damaged and not able to do their job. This leaves us with a surplus of sugar molecules hanging around in the intestine feeding bad bacteria .
Celiac Disease And Gluten Sensitivity
The Cleveland Clinic notes that celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease in which exposure to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye or barley causes damage to the lining of the small intestine. People with celiac are permanently intolerant to gluten and must avoid it for life. Any amount of gluten can cause both short- and long-term side effects.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a related condition. It can cause the same symptoms as celiac, without testing positive for the disease. Much is still unknown about non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The Celiac Disease Foundation reports that this condition also seems to result in an immune reaction with accompanying intestinal cell damage but at this point it’s not clear if it’s caused by all gluten-containing foods.
Regardless of which condition you have, a gluten-free diet is in order. When you’re shopping and cooking for yourself, it’s fairly easy to follow a strict gluten-free diet. However, the Gluten Intolerance Group says that eating away from home presents a risk of gluten cross-contamination if food is prepared in a regular kitchen. Therefore, accidental exposure is always a possibility.
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Wondering If You Have One Find Out Here
Because a food intolerance lasts for just a few days at a time, you may not be questioning your nausea or your headaches. But with the increasing prevalence of food allergies and food sensitivities, these issues can be very serious.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you have a food sensitivity:
- Do you feel abdominal pain within 2 hours after eating any of the foods on this list?
- Do you feel nauseous after eating?
- Have you ever had a severe headache or a migraine after eating or drinking a specific thing?
- Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, but notice it really flares up after eating certain foods?
- Do you have frequent headaches accompanied by nasal congestion?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a food intolerance. Start taking note of the foods you consume that trigger your symptoms. Again, be sure to set an appointment with your healthcare professional to discuss further steps to manage your condition.
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Non Gluten Gut Bombs To Be Wary Of
Aside from gluten , other herbicides/pesticides, processed foods and additives, and many medications can also contribute to a fundamental break down in gut function. Because most gluten free food options are highly processed, are not organic , and lead to gut damage that traditional doctors will typically try to medicate. It is best to try avoiding these items if you want to have optimal GI function.
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When To See A Celiac Specialist Near Me
Gluten causes intestinal damage only in people with celiac disease, not in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease may or may not produce symptoms in children or adults, but if left undetected and untreated, it can cause long-term damage and consequences to your health.
It may be time to see a celiac specialist if you have been dealing with an unexplained illness for several months and your symptoms are not improving. You may also wish to undergo celiac disease screening if you or your child have:
- First-degree relatives with celiac disease
- Worrisome symptoms that might be associated with celiac disease
- An autoimmune disorder
Dr. Laskin explains there are several blood tests used to screen for celiac disease antibodies. If these are present, a biopsy is generally recommended to confirm the diagnosis. Dr. Laskin adds that to be effectively tested for celiac disease, you must be on a gluten-containing diet. He also points out that a person may test positive for celiac disease but have no symptoms, or may have a negative blood test but the biopsy test is positive for celiac.
Celiac disease is a serious condition that can lead to other serious conditions, including nutritional deficiencies, miscarriage, neurologic conditions and cancer. Its important to get tested for celiac disease if you have symptoms suggestive of the disorder, or affected family members, says Dr. Laskin.
*name changed to protect privacy
Soy Disrupts Your Hormones And Your Thyroid
Soy is another food that gets coined as healthy in mainstream media. Its found in many gluten-free foods and is even touted as an alternative to eating animals. The Soy Industry has spent a TON of time and money trying to convince us soy is healthy. The reality is: Soy is filled with toxins. Here are the 4 main problems with soy in regards to Celiac Disease:
For a complete listing of the toxic effects of Soy, check out this PDF from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Just like grains, soy contains toxic chemicals that dont support recovering from Celiac Disease. Simply put: theres much better quality food to put in your mouth.
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Five Ways Gluten Is Linked To Pain
Widespread pain and tenderness are often referred to as fibromyalgia. Like arthritis, it can impair the joints and soft tissue, causing chronic pain. Many who suffer from fibromyalgia also experience fatigue, sleep disturbance, headaches, and painful menstrual periods. A paper published in Rheumatology International reported that patients with fibromyalgia who eliminated gluten from their diet not only saw a reduction in their joint and muscle pain but also saw improvements in gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms.
Migraines can be severe, debilitating headaches that occur on occasion and up to several times per week, lasting hours or days. Those with migraine headaches report throbbing pain on either or both sides of the head, nausea, fatigue and other discomforts. Researchers have not pinned down an exact cause of headaches or migraines, but without a doubt, diet and lifestyle factors are known triggers.
Gluten sensitivity, with or without Celiac Disease, can cause a wide range of digestive symptoms that are often confused with other diseases, such as IBS. Painful ailments like abdominal discomfort, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea often improve or completely resolve with a gluten-free diet.
When Youll Feel Better
The good news is, symptoms tend to resolve fairly quickly, as long as you get back on your strict gluten-free diet. The AP& T study on gluten exposure symptoms found most people felt better within 48 hours.
However, it’s important to remember that any amount of gluten can cause damage to the villi in your intestine, and your symptoms don’t always correlate with the degree of damage. So, while you might feel better quickly, that doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, while the damage to your intestine can happen within hours, it can take months for it to heal.
Amy Keller RD, LD, is the chief dietitian at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio, and a celiac disease support group leader who stresses that everyone recovers differently. She says, “The speed of recovery likely depends on how much gluten was ingested, and if the person continues to accidentally be ‘glutened’ which may prolong symptoms.”
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