15 Symptoms You Are Gluten Intolerant

Gluten intolerance has become something of a fad, flooding the supermarket shelves with special gluten-free products and leading consumers to believe that gluten is uniformly bad.

While that is not actually true, exposure to gluten does cause a lot of discomfort in people who experience intolerance to wheat, barley, and rye. Following is a list of the 15 most common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Be sure to read to the end – you will be surprised by all the seemingly unrelated bothers that can be traced back to gluten. Feeling and living better could be as easy as eliminating gluten from your diet, and rest assured that there are endless food choices available to you in that case!

1. Bloating & Belly Pain

One of the most common complaints by people with gluten intolerance is bloating and belly pain. Up to 83% of people with gluten intolerance report abdominal discomfort.

As the condition causes inflammation in the digestive tract, that makes sense.

2. Unexplained Weight Loss

Losing weight from undiagnosed gluten intolerance can stem from a couple of factors. One is that discomfort upon eating means you simply eat less. Belly pain can make it very difficult to go about your day.

The other is that gluten intolerance is a factor in poor nutrient absorption, so even when you do eat, your cells are not getting the fuel they need, leading them to burn fat instead.

3. Nausea & Vomiting

Inflammation causes by the presence of gluten in your stomach can lead to nausea and even vomiting in those with sensitive stomachs.

One clue that frequent nausea is related to gluten intolerance is if you notice the symptom very soon after eating, and suffer more after an especially gluten-heavy meal.

4. Nasal Congestion

We typically think of nasal congestion as being caused by too much mucous in the nasal cavity, but in reality the issue is due to swelling and inflammation of those delicate tissues.

If you regularly experience congestion soon after eating, gluten intolerance could be the cause.

5. Tiredness

Tiredness results from gluten intolerance because the body must direct extra resources to the digestive process to deal with the inflammation caused by eating wheat products.

The condition also tends to cause iron-deficiency anemia, which contributes greatly to an overall feeling of sluggishness.

6. Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety seems to be prevalent in people with gluten intolerance, though the exact reason why is unknown. Some studies suggest that excess gluten depletes serotonin, leading to poor mood.

In any case, up to 40% of people with gluten intolerance also report regular feelings of anxiety and depression.

7. Migraines

The evidence that gluten intolerance causes migraines is limited, but studies show that migraine sufferers can be helped by a gluten free diet.

If you used to experience migraines occasionally, but find that they are happening more frequently, take a look at whether you recently added a gluten-heavy component to your diet.

8. Confusion

Known amongst gluten intolerant people as “brain fog,” mental confusion due to gluten intolerance will leave you feeling forgetful and struggling to put together your thoughts.

Up to 40% of GI sufferers report having brain fog, likely due to the body’s reaction to certain antibodies present in gluten.

9. Numbness

A surprising symptom of gluten intolerance is numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. Again thought to be a result of antibodies produced in response to gluten, if you are feeling numbness in your extremities, don’t ignore it.

Gluten intolerance is one possible cause, but so is diabetes. Get to your doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

10. Joint or muscle pain

Sufferers of gluten intolerance often report widespread pain, especially in the joints and muscles. This is because inflammation occurs when the body is exposed to gluten products.

It could also be that people with GI have a genetically-based over-sensitive or over-excitable nervous system.

11. Unusually smelly feces

Ok, gross, we know. But poop is actually one of the best ways clinicians have for diagnosing the health of an individual. Any ongoing changes in your bowel movements can be a sign of trouble.

People with uncontrolled gluten intolerance may have pale and especially foul-smelling feces because of poor nutrient absorption. Diarrhea and constipation are also potential side effects of gluten intolerance.

12. Skin conditions

It’s possible to have a skin condition related to gluten intolerance without actually experiencing intestinal distress.

The skin blistering dermatitis herpetiformis is the most common manifestation of gluten intolerance, but psoriasis, alopecia, and chronic urticaria have also been shown to improve greatly with a gluten-free diet.

13. Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia comes with a whole host of other symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, headaches, and weakness.

Because gluten intolerance affects the large intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients, anemia can be the result. Anemia may be the first clue your doctor has about your gluten intolerance.

14. Dental issues

Studies have shown a link between gluten intolerance and recurrent mouth ulcers. GI sufferers are also more prone to cavities, broken teeth, and tooth decay.

One reason is that poor absorption of nutrients through digestion leads to dangerously low levels of calcium, which is crucial to dental and overall bone health.

15. Low Immunity

The body’s first line of defense when facing invading germs is something called IgA, which is a type of antibody that is found mostly in the saliva, tears, and gastrointestinal tract.

Gluten intolerance depresses the level of IgA in your body, leaving you more vulnerable to any bug that comes your way.

If you suspect that you have gluten intolerance, get to your doctor as soon as possible. He or she will want to run some tests to look for anemia and to make sure you don’t have the more serious diagnosis of celiac disease. Your doc will also lay out the best and safest ways to experiment with your diet, since rapid changes can sometimes cause other symptoms that will confuse the results.

You should be very proud of yourself for following down every lead in the pursuit of better health. Best of luck in your journey!