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The 7 symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, as it’s also called, has some of the same symptoms as celiac disease, but is less severe. However, gluten intolerance can cause considerable discomfort. Lifestyle changes can be used to try to control your symptoms. Gluten intolerance is often confused with celiac disease. But these are two separate diseases. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that can damage a person’s digestive system.

Unlike celiac disease, it is not known exactly why the symptoms of gluten intolerance occur. But it doesn’t seem to involve the immune system or harm the gastrointestinal or GI tract. Gluten intolerance can also sometimes be confused with an allergy to wheat. A wheat allergy can be life-threatening. Some symptoms can interfere with breathing or cause loss of consciousness, which is not the case with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The symptoms of gluten intolerance are less severe than those of celiac disease or wheat allergy.

This article describes seven symptoms associated with gluten intolerance, along with foods that contain gluten.

The seven symptoms of gluten intolerance

Most of these symptoms appear shortly after consuming gluten. However, the exact combination of symptoms can vary. People who report gluten intolerance note the following symptoms as some of the most common when they include gluten-containing foods in their regular diet.

1. Diarrhea and constipation

Symptoms of gluten intolerance can include constipation, fatigue, headaches, and nausea. People who report suffering from gluten intolerance say that regular bouts of diarrhea and constipation are common symptoms. It’s normal to have these kinds of digestive problems from time to time, but having them most of the time can indicate an underlying condition. People with celiac disease may also experience diarrhea and constipation. They may also have particularly foul-smelling stools, as this condition causes poor absorption of nutrients.

2. Swelling

Another very common symptom reported by people with gluten intolerance is bloating. It is a feeling of being full, uncomfortable, and lasting. It is also common to experience a buildup of gas. Overeating is the most common cause of bloating. But they can be due to different reasons. In people with gluten intolerance, the feeling of bloating can occur very regularly and is not necessarily related to the amount of food eaten.

3. Abdominal pain

Similarly, several different causes can lead to abdominal pain. But then again, people who report gluten intolerance often report experiencing abdominal pain frequently and for no other obvious reason.

4. Fatigue

Fatigue is another symptom that people may have trouble identifying, as it can have many different causes, many of which are not related to a medical condition. People with gluten intolerance may experience a feeling of persistent fatigue that interferes with their daily functioning.

5. Nausea

People with gluten intolerance may also experience nausea, especially after consuming a meal containing gluten. Nausea can have many causes, but if it occurs frequently after eating gluten, it could be a sign of gluten intolerance.

6. Headaches

Experiencing regular headaches is another symptom that can occur in people with gluten intolerance.

7. Other symptoms

People with gluten intolerance can experience many of these symptoms regularly. Other symptoms can also appear in the case of gluten intolerance, but they are less frequent.

Can be:

joint and muscle pain
depression or anxiety
severe abdominal pain

How to diagnose gluten intolerance?

If gluten intolerance is suspected, it is essential to first ensure that a more serious condition, such as celiac disease or wheat allergy, is not present. Taking a blood sample, which is then tested for the presence of antibodies that could indicate celiac disease or a wheat allergy, often does this. In some cases, other tests may also be necessary. Once a doctor has ruled out a more serious condition, it can still be difficult for them to confirm the presence of gluten intolerance, as there are no tests to detect it. The most common method to determine if gluten intolerance is present is to reduce or eliminate gluten from the diet and monitor the progress of symptoms. It may be helpful for a person to keep a food diary to record the foods he eats and the symptoms he has.

Foods to avoid

Foods that contain gluten are wheat, rye, and pasta, among others.

People with gluten intolerance try to avoid any food that contains gluten, that is, any food that contains:

wheat, and any derivative of wheat, such as spelled
barley, including malt
Brewer’s yeast, which usually comes from beer.

This removal policy excludes many types of food and beverages. The most common foods and drinks that contain gluten are:

bread and cakes
many baked goods
crepes, waffles, and pancakes
many sauces and sauces
malt-based beverages

How to reduce gluten intake

While people with celiac disease should exclude gluten from their diet as soon as a doctor has diagnosed the condition, many people with gluten intolerance slowly reduce their gluten intake, rather than eliminating it right away. It may help to start with one gluten-free meal a day and then gradually add more. It is not necessarily beneficial for all people with gluten intolerance to eliminate gluten from their diet. Because the severity of symptoms varies from person to person.

Some people can consume small amounts of gluten without experiencing symptoms. However, most people with gluten intolerance may wish to eliminate gluten from their diet.


Celiac disease (nd)

Gluten sensitivity. (North Dakota)

Lebwohl, B., Ludvigsson, JF, and Green, PHR (Oct 5, 2015). Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. BMJ, 351, h4347

Molina-Infante, J., Santolaria, S., Sanders, DS, & Fernández-Bañares, F. (2015, March 6). Systematic review: non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Food Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 41(9), 807–820

wheat allergy (North Dakota)

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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