Have you been glutened? Learn the symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity symptoms. Explore more of the differences between gluten sensitivity vs intolerance or celiac disease in this post.
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Have you been Glutened?
How do you know if you have been glutened? That’s the golden question that I hope to clarify for you in this post!
Do you even know if you may have a gluten sensitivity, intolerance or celiac disease? You may wonder how would you have one of those and not know it. Well, I apparently had a sensitivity to gluten for years and did not realize it. You can read more about how I discovered my sensitivity to gluten in one of my earlier posts by clicking here.
What is Gluten?
Let’s start with defining Gluten. So, what is gluten exactly?
Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease and gluten-related disorders. These proteins are found in ALL forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, Kamut, einkorn, and faro) and related grains rye, barley and triticale.1
Gluten Sensitivity aka Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is not completely understood as of yet. There are no specific medical tests to accurately diagnosis it. It is more of a “rule out” kind of diagnosis.
Health Issues Caused By Gluten
Now let’s talk about some of the health issues caused by gluten in our diets. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is basically the same. A more severe reaction to gluten causes celiac disease.
As I previously mentioned there are no medical tests to diagnosis gluten sensitivity, it’s a “rule out” diagnosis. Meaning you stop eating gluten to see if your symptoms improve.
However, you should not do this on your own. You need to speak with your doctor first. Your doctor may want to test you for Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivities first. You need to have the gluten in your system for these tests to be accurate.
Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease
The following are symptoms of Gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease as taken from an article on Healthline.com2
1. Bloating– Bloating is when you feel as if your belly is swollen or full of gas after you’ve eaten. This can make you feel miserable. Bloating can be a sign of other issues. However, bloating is the number one complaint of people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity.
2. Diarrhea, Constipation and Smelly Feces
Occasionally getting diarrhea and constipation is normal, but it may be a cause for concern if it happens regularly. It can be a common symptom of gluten intolerance. People with celiac disease usually experience inflammation in the small intestine after eating gluten. Gluten can also cause digestive symptoms in some people who don’t have celiac disease.
3. Abdominal Pain- Abdominal pain is very common and can have many causes. However, it is one of the single most common complaints with gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
4. Headaches- Many people experience headaches or migraines once in a while. Interestingly, studies have shown that gluten-intolerant individuals may be more prone to migraines than others. If you have regular headaches or migraines without any apparent cause, you could be sensitive to gluten.
5. Skin Problems- Gluten intolerance can also affect your skin. A blistering skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manifestation of celiac disease.
6. Depression- People with digestive issues seem to be more prone to both anxiety and depression, compared to healthy individuals. This is especially common among people who have celiac disease.
7. Unexplained Weight Loss-Although it can stem from various reasons, unexplained weight loss is a common side effect of undiagnosed celiac disease. The weight loss may be explained by a variety of digestive symptoms, coupled with poor nutrient absorption.
8. Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world and accounts for anemia in 5% and 2% of American women and men, respectively.
Iron deficiency causes symptoms such as low blood volume, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, pale skin and weakness.
In celiac disease, nutrient absorption in the small intestine is impaired, resulting in a reduced amount of iron being absorbed from food.
Iron deficiency anemia may be among the first symptoms of celiac disease that your doctor notices.
Recent studies suggest that iron deficiency may be significant in both children and adults with celiac disease.
BOTTOM LINE:Celiac disease may cause poor absorption of iron from your diet, causing iron-deficiency anemia.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant#section1
9. Autoimmune Disorders– Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your digestive tract after you consume gluten. Interestingly, having this autoimmune disease makes you more prone to other autoimmune diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid disease.
Furthermore, autoimmune thyroid disorders may be a risk factor for developing emotional and depressive disorders.
However, non-celiac gluten sensitivity has not been associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disorders, malabsorption or nutritional deficiencies.
10. Joint and Muscle Pain– people experience joint and muscle pain for many reasons. There is a theory that those with celiac disease have a genetically determined over-sensitive or over-excitable nervous system.
11. Brain Fog– “Brain fog” refers to the feeling of being unable to think clearly. Having a “foggy mind” is a common symptom of gluten intolerance, affecting up to 40% of gluten-intolerant individuals.
This symptom may be caused by a reaction to certain antibodies in gluten, but the exact reason is unknown.
Summary of Symptoms
Gluten intolerance can have numerous symptoms. But please remember that most all of the symptoms listed above may and can have other explanations as well.
However, if you experience some of these symptoms on a regular basis, without another apparent cause, then you could possibly be reacting negatively to the gluten in your diet.
If this should be the case, you should consult with your doctor, even before temporarily removing gluten from your diet.
Gluten Sensitivity, Intolerance or Celiac Disease
What is the difference between gluten sensitivity, intolerance or Celiac Disease? All of these conditions are reactions by your body to gluten. But Celiac Disease is caused by an autoimmune disorder that causes your body to attack gluten. It causes a more severe reaction than a sensitivity.
So let’s look at some definitions.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition that occurs in individuals who are unable to tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those associated with celiac disease. Diagnostic tests for celiac disease or food allergies are negative in such individuals. May also be referred to as “gluten sensitivity”1
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakes gluten as a foreign threat. To remove this “threat,” the body overreacts and attacks the gluten proteins. Unfortunately, this attack also damages surrounding areas, such as the gut wall. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, severe digestive issues, and anemia, as well as increase the risk of many harmful diseases.3
Gluten Allergy- There actually is no such thing as a Gluten Allergy. It is a misleading term often mistaken with a wheat allergy or Celiac Disease. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and other things as well. So when someone with Celiac, wheat allergy, or even a gluten intolerance have a reaction they often mistake it for a “gluten allergy”.
Have you been Glutened?
So have you been glutened? Have you noticed any of the previously listed symptoms on a regular basis? Having the symptoms without another apparent reason?
Do you have the symptoms after eating? You may have been glutened especially if you notice bloating, excessive gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or constipation soon after eating the following foods:
- Wheat-based foods like wheat bran, wheat flour, spelt, durum, kamut and semolina
- Brewer’s yeast
And the following foods that may have gluten added to them:
- Bread. All wheat-based bread.
- Pasta. All wheat-based pasta.
- Cereals. Unless labeled gluten-free.
- Baked goods. Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs and pastries.
- Snack foods. Candy, muesli bars, crackers, pre-packaged convenience foods, roasted nuts, flavored chips and popcorn, pretzels.
- Sauces. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings.
- Beverages. Beer, flavored alcoholic beverages.
- Other foods. Couscous, broth (unless labeled gluten-free).
If your symptoms seem severe, remember to consult with your doctor! While limiting these foods may ease your discomfort, your doctor may need to do testing while the gluten is still in your body.
Rather you have Celiac Disease, a gluten sensitivity, or don’t know if you have either, it is important to know if or how your body might be reacting to gluten.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful and informative. The links and references that I used in this article have a lot of other great information as well.
Symptom Checker Tool
Also, I found this Symptom Checker Tool on Celiac.org You can try it if interested by clicking this link.
I haven’t tried out the Symptom Checker Tool personally because I already know that I have a gluten intolerance. But I may go and try it just to experiment with the checker.
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