5 Signs You May Be Gluten Intolerant
About 1% of the population in the U.S. has celiac disease, a condition in which people are gluten intolerant. However, celiac disease is not the only condition caused by consumption of gluten. In fact, conditions like “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” (NCGS) affect about 6% of Americans. Both celiac disease and NCGS affect our physical health, mental well-being, and quality of life.
In this article, we will elaborate on the symptoms and diagnosis options for gluten intolerance.
Gluten Intolerance Signs and Symptoms
Here are the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance:
Abdominal Bloating and Discomfort
Bloating is one of the main symptoms of gluten sensitivity and intolerance. The bloating can occur in your whole body, but it is mainly prevalent in the abdominal area. As a result, this symptom may make you feel like your stomach is full.
Besides bloating, you may also experience abdominal pain. In fact, according to studies, about 70% of people with celiac disease reported experiencing abdominal pain.
In addition, for people who are gluten intolerant, consuming gluten can damage the gut lining. Such damage leads to poor nutrient absorption and causes people to experience the following symptoms:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Digestive discomfort
- Frequent constipation
Having a headache doesn’t necessarily mean you are gluten intolerant. About 45 million Americans experience headaches every year. However, people with gluten sensitivity or intolerance are prone to suffer from headaches regularly.
Fatigue is another common symptom of gluten intolerance. In fact, this symptom usually becomes obvious right after the ingestion of gluten. Furthermore, according to research, about 80% of people with celiac disease are prone to experience fatigue.
Mental Health Issues
Our gut health has a big impact on our mental health. And those who have gluten intolerance are at higher risk of developing the following conditions:
- Brain fog
Depression and anxiety in people with celiac disease or NCGS result from abnormal serotonin levels and microbial gut changes.
According to studies, gluten intolerance is likely to be a risk factor that increases the development of autoimmune disorders. Individuals with celiac disease are prone to develop the following autoimmune disorders:
- Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
- Lymphocytic Colitis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Skin issues can also be a sign of gluten intolerance. For example, it can lead to developing skin problems like:
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH): Also known as gluten rash, it causes itchiness and blisters.
- Psoriasis: This disease causes inflammation and irritation of the skin.
- Chronic urticaria: This skin disease causes itchiness and red spots on the skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
The first step to heal is to confirm whether you are gluten intolerant. The following tests may help diagnose whether you have gluten intolerance:
- Blood test
- Tissue Transglutaminase IgA antibody test
- Endomysial antibody (EMA) test
- Total serum IgA test
- Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) test
If you are gluten intolerant, a medical professional will recommend you to adjust to a gluten-free diet.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
To prevent further health issues, it is crucial to contact your doctor if you have been experiencing digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation for two weeks or more. Likewise, if you have been struggling with any of the symptoms mentioned above but you can’t seem to get rid of them, we encourage you to seek medical help.
Are you starting a gluten-free journey? Z.E.N. Foods can help! We offer a variety of healthy and tasty meals to suit your dietary needs and deliver your meals directly to your door daily. Reach out to us at (310) 205-9368 for more info!