10 Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, has become a common gastrointestinal problem in recent times. It is a condition where the body or digestive tract is sensitive or intolerant to a protein known as gluten, thereby causing symptoms of allergy and discomfort when foods containing gluten are ingested.  Gluten is a protein found in foods like rye, wheat and barley. It is the substance that helps wheat and other cereals to absorb water and stick together. Many people do not have problems when they ingest foods containing gluten, but a good number of people are allergic or sensitive to this substance.

When people who have gluten intolerance take foods that contain gluten, for example, bread, cookies, pasta, couscous, beers that contain wheat, barley or rye, they experience serious discomfort. The gluten activates the body’s immune system, and this can lead to serious damages in the digestive tract. Other foods like canned foods, spices, seasonings and even some soups may contain gluten. Gluten intolerance can easily be confused for Irritable Bowel Syndrome [1], Inflammatory Bowel Disease, wheat intolerance and several other digestive tract disorders because they all have cause abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. However, they do not have similar treatments. Wheat allergy is very different from gluten intolerance and the protein being reacted to is not gluten. The symptoms may include hives, swelling, breathing problems, in serious cases, the patient may develop anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. A person reacting to wheat will need to be rushed to the emergency room immediately. [2]  Making the right diagnosis is the first major step to treating digestive tract disorders of any kind. Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome like Gluten intolerance will not yield the desired results, and symptoms will persist and even get worse. There are two forms of gluten intolerance; Celiac disease and Non-celiac disease gluten insensitivity. The latter is quite mild when compared to the former. Both forms of gluten intolerance cause very serious symptoms and signs that can affect every system in the body, in addition to the digestive system. Here are the main or most common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Abdominal Pain & Bloating

Abdominal pain would easily take first place on the list of symptoms. It is the commonest symptom experienced by those who have gluten intolerance. Abdominal pain is usually the first symptom to set in and indicate that such a person has ingested food that contains gluten. Research shows that about 83% of people who have gluten intolerance experience severe abdominal pain as one of their symptoms.

Bloating usually accompanies the abdominal pain. It is a feeling of air or gas in the belly and is very uncomfortable. It is one of the commonest symptoms of gluten intolerance. Bloating may be caused by several other reasons as well and so bloating alone may not be enough reason to suspect gluten intolerance. It is, however, a common symptom.