Think You're Gluten Intolerant? Learn the symptoms.
How Can You Tell If You Are Gluten Intolerant?
Figuring out if you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to gluten can be a long process. Gluten causes such a wide variety of symptoms that it makes it hard to determine whether your health concern is caused by wheat/gluten/grains or it's another problem. Lots of symptoms are the same for gluten intolerance as any other allergy and many medical conditions.
According to Dr. Doris Rapp, M.D., noted allergy expert and author of Is This Your Child? Discovering Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults (affiliate link), gluten/wheat/grains are implicated in the following medical problems:
- Nose problems (e.g., stuffy or runny nose)
- Wheezing and asthma
- Eczema and skin problems
- Ear problems
- Recurrent infection
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Joint tightness
- Kidney problems
- High blood pressure
You can be tested to see if you have a problem with gluten, but often the test comes back negative because you have reduced your intake of it over the previous several months.
It's the normal thing to do. You think you have a reaction to a food, and you stop eating it. But that's the problem. Dr. Rapp says, œTo detect a food allergy, the food must be eaten no more often than every five days and no less often than every twelve days.
I was having weird health problems that I thought might be related to gluten. My doctor tested for gluten intolerance, and the test came back negative. Nevertheless, I tried reducing and periodically eliminating gluten anyway when I couldn't figure out what else might be causing my problems.
œHmmm. I seem to be feeling better. And I love bread. So maybe I'll just have this one little piece.
Did you know that you crave the very things you are allergic to? It's true. I crave bread. What do you crave?
My reaction to gluten is delayed. After about three days, it causes me irregular bowel movements. If I continue to eat gluten, it causes itchiness, ticklish skin, bloating, mental fog, high blood sugar, and weight gain. It took me a long time to figure that out. I had to keep a food journal for months to understand gluten's connection to my weird symptoms.
Weird Symptoms of Allergies
In fact, you may experience many symptoms that you do not recognize as food allergies or sensitivities. There may be other symptoms, but according to Dr. Rapp, some food allergy symptoms (not necessarily gluten) include:
- Skin problems, like eczema, acne, odd bumps, itchy skin, or ticklishness
- Sinus and hay fever problems, asthma, and other respiratory issues
- Bags, wrinkles, or circles under the eyes (may be dark)
- Red ears and/or bright red cheeks, which are not related to being hot or sunburned
- Constant runny noses (and wiping it upward in kind of a œsalute), sometimes causing a semi-permanent or permanent wrinkle across the bridge of the nose
- Chronic ear or throat infections
- Unproductive coughing, sneezing, or clearing the throat
- Muscle aches
- Foggy brain or trouble remembering or thinking
- Excessive perspiration
- Stinky feet
- Having an abnormally pale face
- Having a spaced-out, expressionless face
- Heart irregularities
- Bad breath
- Excessive saliva
- Coated or patchy tongue (one that is partially coated and looks like a map)
- Weight gain or an inability to lose weight
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Restless legs
- Excessive or urgent need to urinate, or bedwetting
- Acute sensitivity to normal sounds
- Emotional or behavioral changes, such as anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, or depression
IT AIN'T JUST THE DIET
I personally experienced the weight gain and inability to lose weight, even though I tried many different diets. I'm here to tell you it ain't just the diet that is making you hold onto all those extra pounds. At least, it wasn't for me. I couldn't keep weight off for love nor money. When I stopped eating the foods that caused my food sensitivities and seasonal allergies, I lost more than 40 pounds. The weight just slipped off and stayed off.
I tell you my story, explain exactly how to test yourself for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and give you the tools to do it in my new book, It Ain't Just the Diet Food Journal | A Daily Guide to Finding & Managing Your Food Allergies (affiliate link).
Nourish Your Body & Soul
I encourage you to care of yourself by eating satisfying, nourishing food that is good for your body and makes you feel healthy. Protect your spirit by living authentically, moving your body, and taking time to replenish and rest. I think you might also like these recipes & posts from Recipe Idea Shop:
- Gluten Free, Dairy Free White Bread
- My Best Carrot Cake (Gluten Free)
- Five Seed Crackers (Gluten Free)
- Is It Food Allergy, Sensitivity or Intolerance?
- How to Test for Food Sensitivities
- Mood Food: How Does Food Affect Your Mood?
- Why Do I Need a Food Journal
- Celebrate Your Successes
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.
This post was originally published on Recipe Idea Shop March 25, 2021 and updated August 18, 2022.