Symptoms of gluten intolerance can be tricky to determine. Gluten intolerance, also called gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease- when it's in its most severe form- can have symptoms that range from no symptoms to life threatening or debilitating chronic health problems and anywhere in between. Often, these symptoms are not consistent from person to person and this is part of what makes gluten testing or Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity so difficult for medical professionals.
The way that doctors make a diagnosis is to compare the symptoms that you have to the common symptoms of a disease, then do various tests to confirm or reject that diagnosis. But what to do if the symptoms the patient is experiencing are not from any commonly known disease or are so common that they are symptoms of almost every disease? And what if nearly all the tests for that disease are inaccurate? Often, since western medicine doesn’t even look for gluten sensitivity in the first place, and nothing else can be found wrong with them, they are told that they are “fine” - despite ongoing chronic problems. In fact, even for people who have 'true' Celiac Disease, it takes an average of 10 years from the time they first seek medical help for their symptoms until they are diagnosed with the disease!!
Excessive fatigue, depression and weight gain are the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance, as well as the least attributed to gluten sensitivity. Excessive fatigue, depression and weight gain are probably the most common complaints experienced by western people in general and definitely the most common complaints of people with any chronic illness!
Here's Stacey's Story
"In the mid-1990’s, I was a single mother working in an intense, high-stress sales environment. As such, I began developing aches & pains in my muscles & joints as well as extreme fatigue. The fatigue was so bad that it often had me napping in my car and.... Finish reading Stacey's story and other Gluten-Free Success Stories Here
Body aches and joint aches are also frequent complaints that are found in a large percentage of gluten intolerant people- and can even be misdiagnosed as Symptoms of Fibromyalgia or Unexplained Infertility
Yet, these complaints are almost never attributed to gluten sensitivity.
While this is counter-intuitive, digestive symptoms are less common symptoms of gluten sensitivity. However, they are usually not present alone; they are most often accompanied by the familiar triad of excessive fatigue, depression and weight gain.
Digestive symptoms that might be seen as the symptoms of gluten sensitivity are:
• Abdominal pain
• Weight Gain or weight loss
• Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea
These symptoms, if any are present, are those commonly found in many other gastrointestinal disorders and are, again, rarely attributed to gluten sensitivity. Even when patients have chronic digestive complaints and no cause can be found, rarely is gluten sensitivity ever suspected.
Frequent infections that seem completely unrelated to the digestive tract are common in gluten sensitivity; however, they are very much related. Gluten sensitivity causes extensive damage to the lining of the small intestine which houses up to 70% of the body’s immune system. Some of the immune system tissue that becomes damaged in gluten sensitivity is the tissues that produce antibodies called Secretory IgA. Secretory IgA is one of the most abundant antibodies in the human body and is extremely important for killing pathogens that come into contact with mucosal tissue such as the:
• Respiratory tract
• Digestive tract
• Urinary tract
And since these areas of the body are actually in direct contact to the outside world, it’s
EXTREMELY important that these areas stay well protected. But if the tissues that produce Secretory IgA are destroyed, then not enough IgA antibodies are available to help keep pathogens in check!
• Sinus infections
• Eye infections/Conjunctivitis
• Vaginal infections
• Urinary tract infections
• Gut infections such as giardia and
Are you starting to see the connection?
So, really people who are otherwise ‘healthy’, but who get frequent colds or infections could possibly have symptoms of gluten intolerance – even as unrelated as the two seem on the surface.
diseases could be symptoms of gluten intolerance. But this
is exactly the case that I am making.Gluten intolerance and Celiac
Disease ARE autoimmune disorders. In autoimmune disorders, the body’s
own immune system attacks its own organs or tissues. Most people are
familiar with Rheumatoid Arthritis attacking the joints of the body
making them red and swollen.
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, as well as attacking the lining of the small intestine which causes a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome, ALSO destroys the secretory IgA immune tissues that we mentioned above. This destruction of immune tissue sets the body up for other immune system problems. And some of these other problems are complete immune system dysfunction and massive inflammation, as in autoimmune disorders.
Often, people with other autoimmune disorders can have their disease go completely into remission if they begin a Gluten Intolerance Diet. Sometimes the improvement in 2 to 6 months on a Gluten Free Diet is remarkable!
Another crazy idea is that gluten sensitivity could be one of the Causes of Infertility in Men and women both!! Now, I’m not talking about people who have obvious anatomical or other medically explained reasons why they can’t have children. I’m talking about those who have unexplained infertility. Some studies have found that women with unexplained infertility or who have lost more than one pregnancy have celiac disease in numbers up to ten times the rest of the population.
Interestingly, many of these infertile people had no other symptoms and were otherwise ‘healthy’. Fortunately or unfortunately, this fact is somewhat well known to infertility doctors and therefore, they are beginning to test for celiac disease in these women who can’t get pregnant. But, unfortunately, as we mentioned in the Diagnosing Gluten Allergy page, Gluten Sensitivity and Infertility is frequently missed even when using the most up to date scientific testing techniques. So many of these people are told that they are ‘fine’ and sent on their gluten eating way.
A better idea would be for anyone with unexplained fertility to be put on a Gluten Intolerance Diet while attempting to get pregnant and all during the pregnancy. A gluten free diet has been shown to both allow some women to get pregnant and to Increase Male Fertility when undiagnosed Celiac Disease is the problem.
Nutrient Deficiencies are frequently overlooked symptoms of gluten intolerance. However, they are often MAJOR clues that the intestinal damage is causing poor absorption. Even single nutrient deficiencies should clue doctors in to an absorption problem. Individually:
Have all been 'Presenting Symptoms' of Gluten Intolerance that SHOULD be taken seriously and pursued as malabsorption- and many of these nutrient deficiencies are often the Cause of Peripheral Neuropathy and Mental Changes from B12 Deficiency.
Osteoporosis is a huge indicator of celiac disease that is overlooked nearly 100% of the time as being caused by gluten, especially when no gastrointestinal symptoms are present. Many unnecessary trips to the doctor and dangerous drugs like Fosamax could be avoided if more doctors were aware that nutrient deficiencies are simply symptoms of gluten intolerance.
Gluten intolerance is a VERY under diagnosed illness, with doctors not looking for it and even denying its existence. But unrelated symptoms and chronic complaints are OFTEN due to gluten intolerance.
In fact, here is a
Symptom Checklist that you can use to help you to determine if you have celiac disease and/or gluten intolerance. Those medical professionals who work with gluten sensitivity and patients who have FINALLY discovered the cause of their ongoing debilitating problems don’t NEED the medical profession to confirm or deny what they know to be true.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance are REAL, and there are thousands of people who could have their suffering ended if they would just try the Gluten Intolerance Diet for 60-90 days and see for themselves. I recommend that EVERYONE with ANY health problems go on a 60 day gluten free eating trial. You can start out with the help of The Healthy Urban Kitchen, a program that will provide you with the education, know-how, and tools to get you on a successful gluten-free and 'real food' eating plan to get you on the path to good health.
Keep reading to learn more about why diagnosing gluten allergy is not as simple as it sounds.
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance Resources
Click below to see already answered questions about Gluten Sensitivity
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Could I Have Gluten Sensitivity?
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Can Gluten Sensitivity Cause Diarrhea
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breathing issues and gluten intolerance?
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Can gluten intolerance be attributed to Chrons disease, if un-diagnosed for decades??
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Gluten Sensitivity and Bloating
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Protection from Gluten Contamination
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Could be Gluten Sensitive or Celiac?
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Can gluten sensitivity affect muscle strength?
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Depression and desperately needing to be gluten free!
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Gluten Sensitivity and MS
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Gluten intolerance and cognitive function
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Could Stomach pains and Shakiness be from Gluten Sensitivity
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Is it Safe to Avoid Gluten
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Can Gluten Sensitivity mimic neurological diseases. For example: Parkinson's
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Could Shortness of Breath after Eating be Due to Gluten Sensitivity?
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"French Bread" Legs from Eating Gluten
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Dementia and long term Gluten intolerance
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Could Gluten Sensitivity Create a Lot of Mucus
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GLUTEN PROBLEM OR NOT
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Will gluten cause my esophagus to spasm?
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Too old to be gluten intolerant?
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Should Finlanders avoid gluten?
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Lumps caused by gluten intolerance
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Gluten and Thyroid
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Explosive Bowel Movements and Gluten Sensitivity
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Can someone help my confusion about symptoms ???
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Help me! Am I Gluten Intolerant?
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Gluten intolerance linked to brittle/ loss of hair?
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Could gluten sensitivity cause irregular heart rhythm?
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I know it's more than IBS...
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Gluten and Skin Conditions
Can gluten intolerance cause skin conditions- specifically I want to know if it can cause rashes on the legs, arms and back?
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