Gluten intolerance has become a central talking point for dietitians and health experts in recent years. With it, gluten-free diets have risen as well. Some decide to go gluten free simply because of how they feel when removing all gluten-based foods from consumption. However, there are others who should avoid eating gluten because it makes them sick and suffer any number of side effects. Gluten intolerance is a very real condition that can reduce your overall enjoyment of life. If you believe you might suffer from gluten intolerance or you’re simply curious, here are a number of common symptoms you need to watch out for.
Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
What Exactly is Gluten?
In order to determine whether you have an intolerance to gluten you need to have a full understanding of what gluten is. Gluten itself is a kind of protein, only unlike the proteins commonly found in meat, gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is what helps bind the grain together.
Gluten intolerance is in itself rather rare. Less than one percent of the general population in the United States is gluten intolerant. So, chances are, you might have a slight irritation to gluten, but it doesn’t make you intolerant (in other words your body can tolerate it as long as it isn’t consumed in great quantities). With that said, there are a number of symptoms you need to keep an eye out for. In general, the more symptoms you experience the greater the chance it is of you being gluten intolerant.
There are a number of common symptoms you need to be mindful of.
This can include symptoms like:
- stomach cramping
- skin problems
- joint or muscle pains
Of course, these symptoms can also be brought on by other factors, like stress or food poisoning, so it is important to observe these symptoms consistently over time whenever you eat foods containing wheat, rye or barley.
It is important to go in and see your primary healthcare provider to be diagnosed as you may not actually have a gluten allergy. There are similar allergies that will come with similar symptoms. A wheat allergy is one such allergy that is often assumed to be a gluten issue, when in fact you have a specific allergy to wheat and not other grains. However, a wheat allergy is also more serious. This is because wheat allergies can affect your body’s immune system. Gluten intolerance doesn’t cause any kind of long term harm to your body. Outside of suffering from the symptoms, gluten intolerance will not cause any lasting side effects.
Understanding The Severity of Your Symptoms
One of the main reasons why you want to go in to get tested for gluten intolerance is to make sure you do not have a wheat allergy or have celiac disease. This test is done with a blood test (sometimes a prick test is all that’s necessary), or even an upper endoscopy procedure. The upper endoscopy procedure is only required if it is believed you have celiac disease.
Once you are diagnosed your doctor will help you develop a diet that best fits your dietary needs.
Consult Your Primary Healthcare Provider
If you believe you suffer from gluten intolerance it is a good idea to consult your primary healthcare provider. In some instances your intolerance may be mild, in which case limiting your gluten intake is all that is necessary. However, in other cases, your gluten intolerance may be severe, and if you don’t make dietary changes it can affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Adapting to a Gluten-Free Diet
Once it has been determined you either have celiac disease or are otherwise gluten intolerant, you’ll want to adapt to a gluten-free diet. Luckily, making the transition is not as overwhelming as it once was because of the widespread demand for gluten-free products and the willingness of those who adhere to a gluten-free diet to share their journey with tips, tricks and suggestions.
You may enjoy these resources:
- Moving to a Gluten-Free Diet the Right Way
- 5 Reasons Gluten Intolerance is on the Rise
- Navigating the Grocery Store When You’re Gluten-Free
By scheduling an appointment with your primary healthcare provider you’ll uncover what side of the spectrum you fall on and what needs to be done.
We have done our best to ensure that the information on our site is accurate and up-to-date. Information provided on our site is intended to inform and educate, not diagnose or otherwise stand-in for the medical advice or instruction of your family doctor.
Please consult a doctor or qualified health professional with any matters regarding your health and well-being, or with any health-related questions or comments you have on opinions expressed on our site. Any links to external sites have been chosen carefully. However these links do not reflect endorsement and Three Bakers is not responsible for their site content.