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Gluten Allergy Symptoms

Beware! These are the Most Common Gluten Allergy Symptoms

Gluten allergy is a kind of a disorder that strikes some people who cannot digest gluten, a kind of a protein that exists in various grains. Read more about it here, along with gluten intolerance symptoms.
Rita Putatunda
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Gluten is a type of protein that is very complex, and hence is very difficult to digest. This is the reason why babies are not given wheat when they are first introduced to solid foods. They are given a thin porridge made of rice, which their immature digestive tract can handle easily.
Gluten intolerance is acknowledged as a food intolerance and is usually inherited, with some people being born with the condition. Although often referred to as an allergy, it is a non-allergic and non-autoimmune condition. This condition is divided into three different categories, namely celiac disease, non- celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy. Commonly, the three categories may be interchanged with each other. If the diagnosis of gluten allergy is not made at infancy, it just worsens with age. Gluten allergy is basically a condition wherein the gluten found in various types of food cannot be absorbed. In other words, there is malabsorption of nutrients. The main foods that contain gluten are: wheat, oats, barley, and rye. All types of wheat grain such as wheat bran, whole wheat grain, triticale, spelled, etc., contain gluten.
As a matter of fact, in people with celiac disease this protein actually causes damage to the small intestine by flattening out the villi, tiny protrusions that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients, which line its walls. When gluten food is consumed, the lining of the small intestine is inflamed and at times may be damaged.
What are the Gluten Intolerance Symptoms?
It is commonly seen, that diagnosing the exact condition is often a problem. The condition may often be categorized either as irritable bowel syndrome or some other abdominal condition. In case you have an allergic reaction to gluten, the protein will damage the walls of your intestines, which will result in restricting the absorption of foods, and lead to various symptoms, such as
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Aching joints
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Dental health problems
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Skin problems like eczema and dermatitis
  • Behavioral changes which includes irritability
  • Being prone to disease due to the immune system being affected

However, the most well-known and common symptoms of gluten intolerance are gastro-intestinal, such as
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Abdominal distention
  • Fat excreted in stools (because of poor digestion)
  • Dyspepsia (an uncomfortable sensation or pain in the upper area of the stomach)
  • Diarrhea (possibly the symptom that is the most major)

Some of the other symptoms are: anemia, due to poor absorption of iron as well as reduced absorption of Vitamin B12, fatigue and breathlessness. Some of the other conditions associated with gluten allergy are irregular menstruation, infertility and miscarriage, as well as slow growth in infants and children.
How is the Diagnosis of Gluten Allergy made?
Until quite recently the diagnosis was quite challenging since the symptoms are so varied as well as similar to other ailments, such as intestinal infection, irritable bowel syndrome, iron deficiency, chronic fatigue and Crohn's disease. As a matter of fact, there could be a cross over between gluten allergy and a few of these diseases. A person may have a combination of these problems, which can be aggravated by inappropriate food choices.
These days, physicians carry out tests to check for elevated levels of auto-antibodies in the blood of patients. The body produces these when it detects any dangerous allergen, such as gluten. In case the results of the test indicate an allergy, the physician may carry out a biopsy of the intestine, which will reveal what damage has been caused to the villi. Before going for the test, it is important to eat a normal diet that includes foods containing gluten.
To find the right kind of gluten sensitivity, the tests may have to be carried out over a number of days. In some cases, the tests may be repeated twice or thrice to ascertain the exact condition. It is not recommended, that one neglect the condition or try to analyze the condition oneself, to avoid any complications.