Gluten has become a bit of a loaded word these days, but the truth is, it’s a very real problem for some people out there. While some people may confuse gluten intolerance with Celiac disease, some problems with gluten actually deal with the gut directly. There are some signs that are surefire – like vomit, debilitating pain, diarrhea – some issues may come across as something more subtle and common.
Now we’re no doctors, however, we’ve rounded up 17 signs that could mean you are gluten intolerant.
1. Stomach ache
If you’re feeling stomach pains after eating foods heavy in gluten, it could be a major sign of gluten intolerance. Various feelings could be associated with this, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. For those that have an intolerance, it can damage the lining of the small intestine and cause a problem in absorbing minerals, vitamins, and energy from the foods itself. Abdominal pain is said to be the most common symptom of gluten intolerance.
Almost everyone has suffered from this before in their lives, so we all know how terrible it is. And people who are gluten intolerant deal with it even more. If your belly feels swollen or filled with gas after eating gluten, it could mean something.
3. Diarrhea or Constipation
Again, something we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives. But if you experience it on a daily basis, it might mean it’s time to take a trip to the doctor. If left untreated, it can damage the gut lining and lead to poor nutrient absorption, dehydration, and fatigue.
If, after eating, you start feeling brain fog, disorientation, and a strange feeling of being off-balance, there might be a chance that gluten may be the culprit! Because this is an issue with the brain, it can be hard to make the connection. If you’re getting any of these feelings after eating, it might be time to take a look at your gluten intake!
5. Mood Swings
If your body is feeling miserable from the food you eat, your mood can similarly shift in the same way! Make sure to keep an eye out on your mood – if the food you’re eating is making you feel sad, irritable, or depressed, it might mean it’s time to switch up your diet. Wholesome foods like fruits and vegetables are proven to uplift your mood.
In addition to stomach aches, you could very well be experiencing headaches. According to Healthline, studies have shown that gluten intolerant individuals can be more prone to them.
7. Itchy Skin
If your intestines are having issues processing the gluten you’ve eaten, the intestines may become inflamed and manifest on the skin. Gluten sensitivity is often associated to various skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, and this is why. Keep an eye out for your skin as well to see if you have any issues with gluten!
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can cause people a lot of pain in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. According to doctors, avoiding foods with gluten can alleviate these symptoms.
Alex Shikhman, M.D. notes-
“When patients are helped by a specific dietary measure, it is often because of the presence of a secondary condition that does have a recognized response to diet. And when you take care of that, you do get some relief from all the symptoms. You feel better overall.”
9. Chronic Fatigue
If your mind and body are reacting to the gluten, it can make sense that a sense of fatigue takes over. If you’re feeling tired, even after a full nights sleep, this might be another sign of gluten intolerance.
10. Skin Problems
There’s a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis, and it is the skin manifestation of celiac disease. It’s also been shown that on a gluten-free diet, several other skin diseases can be improved, such as psoriasis, alopecia areata, and chronic urticaria.
11. Lactose Intolerance
Yes, it would be really sad if you couldn’t eat gluten, but also cheese… Unfortunately though, it’s possible. If you are lactose intolerant, then the chances of finding yourself with a gluten intolerance also increases. There is a specific type of sugar found in lactose foods that can trigger digestive issues and can worsen symptoms of gluten intolerance!
People with digestive issues can be more prone to depression and anxiety. There are a few reasons for this: abnormal serotonin levels, gluten exorphins, or changes in the gut microbiota. Plus, having to deal with these issues can naturally make you feel upset and/or insecure.
13. Weight Loss
Unexpected weight loss that you can’t explain is definitely a cause for concern. This could happen for several different reasons, plus poor nutrient absorption as mentioned earlier.
Partially due to poor nutrient absorption, another symptom can be iron-deficiency anemia. It may be one of the first symptoms your doctor notices and can cause low blood volume, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and more.
15. Joint and Muscle Pain
Joint and muscle pain can be the result of several different things, one of them being gluten intolerance. If you’re gluten intolerant, you could have a lower threshold to activate sensory neurons that cause pain in muscles and joints.
16. Inability to think clearly
If you feel forgetful, have difficulty thinking, or “brain fog,” as some people call it, this could be another symptom of gluten intolerance. Having a “foggy mind” affects up to 40% of gluten intolerance.
17. Leg or Arm Numbness
This one is a bit surprising, but neuropathy is a symptom of gluten intolerance. It is also common in individuals with diabetes and vitamin B12 deficiency and can also be caused by alcohol consumption.
It can be scary if you’re suffering from these symptoms, and it’s important to be aware of them. If these symptoms sound like things you’re suffering from, ask your doctor who can help you get to the bottom of it. The good news is if you are gluten intolerant, it’s treatable!
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