Gluten intolerance: how to know if you have it

Gluten intolerance: how to know if you have it

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Gluten has literally become a dirty word these days. 

Around, they only talk about its harm and that you need to stop eating foods containing it. In fact, only those who do not digest gluten need to give up gluten. And here’s how to understand it.

There are different degrees of gluten intolerance, each with different symptoms.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance is called celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which gluten damages the small intestine. According to statistics, 1% of people suffer from it. A milder form is gluten sensitivity: there are symptoms but no harm to the gut. As a rule, it is diagnosed after discarding the variant with celiac disease. So if you are experiencing the symptoms described below, check if you can continue to use gluten.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity

Some people may have a milder form of gluten intolerance that is not associated with the autoimmune disease celiac disease. Pain and cramps in the abdomen. Abdominal pain after eating gluten is the most common symptom of gluten indigestion. True, it can be difficult to understand why exactly the stomach hurts. A detailed food diary will help you find out.


Most often this happens due to overeating of legumes or hormonal imbalance. And here again, a diary will help – and attention to what you ate.

Poor concentration

Gluten sensitivity can be neurological and reduce the ability to process information and focus on a problem.

Bad mood and depression

This can also be affected by gluten. People with gluten intolerance seem to be more prone to anxiety and depression than people without such problems. For example, in one study, up to 40% of people with gluten sensitivity stated that they regularly experience anxiety.

Memory issues

Many patients who have found gluten intolerance complain about their memory worsening.

Diarrhea and constipation

If diarrhea and constipation happen too often, then this may be a signal that you have a gluten intolerance. More than 50% of people with gluten intolerance suffer from diarrhea and about 25% from constipation.


Many people with gluten intolerance suffer from headaches and migraines. This has been confirmed by some studies.


Constant fatigue can be a sign of the presence of any disease. People with gluten intolerance are especially prone to fatigue.

Symptoms of celiac disease

Celiac disease is the most severe form. This autoimmune disease affects about 1% of the population. It can lead to digestive problems, skin problems, and more. You lose weight effortlessly because the intestines are damaged and can’t digest food properly. In the case of gluten sensitivity, you simply start eating less so that your stomach hurts less often, and you lose weight.

Diarrhea and constipation

Celiac disease can cause inflammation in the small intestine after eating gluten. This leads to damage to the intestinal mucosa, which contributes to poor absorption of nutrients and causes diarrhea and constipation.

Pain in muscles and joints

There is a theory that people with celiac disease have a genetically determined hypersensitive nervous system, which can cause them to feel pain in the muscles and joints after consuming gluten.

Iron deficiency and anemia

With anemia and iron deficiency, the following symptoms are observed: fatigue; dyspnea; headache; dizziness; pale skin; low hemoglobin. In the presence of a disease such as celiac disease, there is a violation of the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, which leads to a decrease in the amount of iron absorbed from food.

Skin diseases

Gluten intolerance directly affects digestion, which means that the skin also suffers.

  • Blisters, rashes, and some skin conditions may appear.
  • Psoriasis. This disease is characterized by redness and peeling of the skin.
  • Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss.
  • Chronic urticaria is a skin disease in which itchy pink or red lesions appear on the skin.

Numbness of hands and feet

Neuropathy is characterized by numbness of the extremities and periodic tingling in them. Typically, these symptoms occur in people with diabetes or vitamin B12 deficiency, however, some studies have shown that neuropathy can also occur in patients with celiac disease.


Feeling tired is common among people with autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease. There may also be sleep problems, chronic pain and depression. Since celiac disease can be associated with iron deficiency, the body can experience inhibition of the production of red blood cells, which in turn causes fatigue.

Depression and anxiety

It has been proven that people who have digestive problems are more prone to depression than those who do not. Depression and anxiety are common in people with gluten intolerance.

  • Atypical levels of serotonin, which is best known as the “hormone of happiness.” A decrease in its level in the body can cause depression.
  • Gluten exorphins are peptides formed during the digestion of certain gluten proteins.
  • Changes in the gut microbiota. An increase in the number of bad bacteria and a decrease in the number of good ones can negatively affect the central nervous system, which increases the risk of depression.

Autoimmune diseases

Having celiac disease increases the body’s susceptibility to other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid problems, which can increase the risk of developing a depressive disorder.

Wheat allergy symptoms

A wheat allergy is a type of food allergy in which the body’s immune system reacts to certain proteins found in wheat (including gluten).

Skin becomes dry and flaky

This is a rather rare symptom, it must be considered in combination with others. In particular, wheat allergy can often cause hives.

Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion and sneezing are the most common symptoms of wheat allergy and Baker’s asthma. In this condition, sensitivity to wheat and other cereals increases with frequent inhalation of bread flour.

Digestive problems

Some studies have shown that wheat allergy can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, bloating, and indigestion. All this is the body’s immune response to the allergen.


Anaphylaxis is an acute, life-threatening form of an allergic reaction that can cause swelling, hives, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Adrenaline and medications are usually used to relieve symptoms.

Gluten intolerance can cause many different symptoms. To accurately identify the cause and degree of your gluten intolerance, you need to see a doctor who will prescribe tests and subsequent treatment.

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