Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. People with gluten intolerance can experience adverse reactions if the food items are consumed.
While consuming a variety of food items is a thrilling adventure for many, there are some people who are not lucky enough to be able to eat anything they want. This could be due to food sensitivities like being allergic to certain proteins, lactose intolerance, to name a few. While you may have heard plenty about these digestive disorders, there's one other type of sensitivity, that albeit common, not many are aware of completely. It's gluten intolerance.
Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. If a person who is sensitive to gluten consumes an item that contains the protein, they could experience adverse reactions, including pain and bloating, according to Medical News Today. One of the most severe forms of gluten intolerance is Celiac disease, according to Healthline. Around 1% of people are affected by this autoimmune disease that may compromise the digestive system with time. "If you think you might have celiac disease, the biggest mistake is to begin a diet without being tested," says Dr. Stefano Guandalini, director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.
Meanwhile, 0.5%-13% of the population may suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is a milder form of intolerance towards gluten. That being said, it can still be a cause of some problems that you may be facing. Now, both types of gluten intolerance can result in various symptoms but many of them have nothing to do with one's digestion. It may be tougher to detect and that's why we have a list of symptoms and signs of gluten intolerance to help you identify it better.
Have you ever felt that your belly is swollen more than it should be due to gas after a meal? Chances are that the miserable feeling is a sign of gluten intolerance. Feeling bloated is one of the most common symptoms faced by people who are sensitive or intolerant to the protein. According to a 2014 study, 87% of the people who were suspected of non-celiac gluten sensitivity said they experience this symptom.
Pain in the abdomen can be caused due to many reasons but it is also one of the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance. A survey of 486 patients with suspected NCGS found that up to 83% of the group experienced stomach pain and discomfort after consuming gluten.
Feeling tired after a strenuous day of work is normal. But if you're constantly fatigued without doing much, you may want to look into it. People who are gluten-intolerant are quite prone to tiredness, especially after consuming food items that contain gluten. Per studies, 60-82% of individuals with gluten intolerance experience tiredness and fatigue. Furthermore, it can also cause iron-deficiency anemia, which could result in a lack of energy.
If you're getting diarrhea or constipation regularly then it could be a symptom of gluten intolerance. Individuals with celiac disease experience inflammation in their small intestine after eating food containing gluten. It eventually damages the lining in your gut and leads to reduced nutrient absorption, which in turn results in diarrhea or constipation. But even people who don't have celiac disease can experience foul-smelling and pale stool as the nutrients are not absorbed properly.
People with celiac disease can get a blistering skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis. Individuals who suffer from the disease are sensitive to gluten and less than 10% of patients encounter digestive symptoms. A gluten-free diet has shown improvement in patients, including conditions like Psoriasis, Chronic urticaria, and Alopecia areata.
While migraines are a common condition experienced by many occasionally, gluten-intolerant people may be more prone to them. If you're experiencing migraines or headaches without any clear reason, you could be sensitive to gluten.
While people can be depressed due to many reasons, individuals with digestive issues are more inclined to depression and anxiety. During the digestion of gluten proteins, gluten exorphins- a type of peptides- are formed. This might interfere with the functioning of the central nervous system, in turn increasing the risk of depression. As for anxiety, a study found 40% of people with self-reported gluten sensitivity experienced anxiety.
If you notice an unexpected change in weight, it is definitely a cause for concern. There could be many reasons behind suddenly losing weight and one of them may be undiagnosed celiac disease. While studying a group of celiac disease patients, researchers found that two-thirds of them had lost weight in the six months that ultimately led to their diagnosis.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) udra, (R) Peter DazeleyDisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.