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Wheat Intolerance Symptoms in Adults

Madhura Pandit Feb 8, 2019
Wheat intolerance can cause disorders of the stomach, skin rash, headache, etc. Here is a detailed list of possible signs and symptoms of wheat or gluten intolerance in adults.
The conditions, wheat intolerance, gluten intolerance, and gluten allergy are often used interchangeably. However, they differ from each other. The exact cause of wheat intolerance is unknown. There are no human-induced causes for it.


Wheat intolerance can cause numerous signs and symptoms. Many times, the symptoms are vague and not related to the digestive system at all. Due to this reason, this disorder is not diagnosed easily. Following are some of the possible symptoms. Note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Common Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Skin rash
  • Redness / swelling on skin
  • Palpitations
  • Eczema
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation

Digestive Disorders

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps / pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Retention of fluids
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Respiratory System Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hay fever

Psychological Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Lethargy
  • Cravings
  • Giddiness
Headache, experienced only on one side of the head, abdominal cramps, asthma-like symptoms are the most common signs of wheat intolerance. Bloating is also a common but less severe symptom.
Sometimes, coming in contact with plants of wheat can also trigger off asthma-like symptoms. In the initial stage, the symptoms appear very mild, but, become severe as the time passes. Due to this, food intolerance is difficult to diagnose in the initial stage.
In children, common symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and skin rash are observed. On the other hand, in case of adults, the symptoms vary from one person to the other. Not all symptoms are observed in every case. However, if these symptoms are observed after consuming wheat products, there can be a possibility of wheat intolerance.


In case you observe the aforementioned symptoms, with no obvious cause or after having meal, you should consult the doctor. A medical practitioner will easily diagnose and treat the condition.
Maintaining a food diary every day can help in diagnosing this condition. The doctor may advise the person to completely avoid eating wheat and other gluten containing foods, and then see whether the symptoms subside or not.
If the symptoms subside, it is inferred that the person is intolerant to wheat. Whereas, if the symptoms do not subside, it is concluded that they are signs of some other disease or disorder.
Completely excluding wheat and other gluten containing products is the only effective treatment for this disorder. The doctor will also prescribe medication to treat the symptoms and discomfort.


Apart from wheat, there are other products that also contain gluten and should be avoided. They include: wheat, wheat germ, wheat grass, rye, barley, bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour, matzo, semolina, Spelt, oats, etc.
On the other hand, check the labels of the following foods as they might contain wheat or gluten. They include: bread and bread rolls, cakes, croƻton, pretzels, muffins, biscuits, cookies, pasta, pizza, scones, pancakes, processed luncheon meats, barley drinks, beer, etc.
Consume only those foods that are marked 'gluten-free'. Secondly, you should also make sure to know the ingredients of food when eating out. Although wheat intolerance cannot be cured completely, following these measures can help in preventing the condition to a great extent.
As a concluding note, note that it will be wise to consult a dietitian who will draw out a diet plan for you in order to prevent wheat intolerance symptoms and its complications. Take care!
Disclaimer: This information is meant for educational purposes only. You should consult the doctor in case any unexplained symptoms are observed.