Gluten intolerance is not the same thing as coeliac disease, but its symptoms can be remarkably similar. It’s more than just a spot of tummy trouble, too, so if you think you might be experiencing gluten intolerance it’s important to speak to a medical professional about it as soon as you can. Today we’re going to discuss some of the key warning signs of gluten intolerance, and what to do if you think you might have non-celiac gluten intolerance.
The Signs of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance isn’t as serious as coeliac disease, but the gluten allergy symptoms it causes can still have a huge effect on the quality of life of those affected by it. There are many gluten sensitivity symptoms, any of which might be present in a sufferer, following the consumption of food containing wheat, barley or rye. These are the main warning signs to look out for:
If your stomach swells up and you feel uncomfortable and full of gas following a meal you could be suffering from gluten intolerance. This is a classic symptom which will usually appear very soon after eating. Some sufferers report looking six months pregnant following a gluten-filled meal!
Diarrhea or Constipation
It’s normal to suffer from either diarrhoea or constipation once in awhile, but if you’re experiencing either (or both) of these unpleasant conditions regularly it might be time to look at your diet. Around 50% of people with gluten intolerance experience diarrhoea after consuming gluten, whilst 25% will experience constipation.
If you’ve recently eaten gluten and you’re experiencing severe stomach pain it could be a red flag, signalling something untoward going on in your gut. Stomach pain is one of the most common complaints from people with gluten intolerance.
Headaches and Migraines
Gluten intolerance isn’t just about digestive problems. It can also cause other gluten side effects, such as headaches and even migraines in its sufferers. So, if you’re regularly taking to a dark room with a pounding head it might be time to consider your diet.
If you find yourself losing huge amounts of weight, with no obvious explanation, we recommend you speak to your doctor as soon as you can. Unexplained weight loss can be an indicator of a wide range of health problems and can be a pointer to both gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. It’s all down to poor absorption of nutrients, due to the digestive issues caused by eating gluten.
Depression and Anxiety
If you suffer from digestive issues you are more at risk of developing depression, which can have a massive effect on your life. The link between gluten intolerance and depression is thought to be related to abnormal serotonin levels in sufferers, changes in the gut microbiota and gluten exorphins, which are formed during the digestion of proteins in gluten.
Muscle or Joint Pain
If you have a gluten intolerance but regularly consume gluten, it can lead to inflammation within your body, affecting both your joints and your muscles. This causes pain, which can be severe. However, it’s reversible with the help of a gluten free diet – so don’t despair!
If you feel exhausted more than you think you should, with no apparent cause, gluten could be your culprit. An intolerance to gluten can head to anaemia, as a result of iron deficiency, which will mean extreme fatigue and a total lack of energy.
Rashes and Skin Complaints
One key indicator of coeliac disease is a skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy blistering skin condition which can only be resolved through a change to a gluten free diet. Other skin problems which can be improved through a gluten free diet include chronic urticaria, alopecia areata and psoriasis.
Gluten intolerance causes a wide range of unpleasant symptoms in its sufferers, which go far beyond the typical digestive complaints you might imagine. Whilst many of these symptoms can have other explanations, if you’re experiencing several of these symptoms regularly, it’s definitely worth considering whether your diet may be the cause. The beauty of a gluten free diet is its ability to improve symptoms of gluten intolerance incredibly quickly. If you stick to a gluten free diet you won’t encounter these issues in the future.
Speak to your doctor to arrange a gluten intolerance test if you’re worried that you may have a gluten intolerance, or simply try a gluten free diet to see if you find your symptoms improve. If you’re interested in going gluten free, check out our blog for plenty of gluten free restaurant recommendations. A gluten free diet no longer means missing out on delicious food!