Let me ask you this. Have you ever felt that your doctor isn’t taking you seriously? You feel that something is wrong, but your doctor quickly dismisses your concerns. That’s what happens in many cases with gluten intolerance. Doctors are quick to dismiss diseases and say it is a result of stress or something such. But don’t be so trusting.
Gluten sensitivity manifests in more ways than just stomach problems or IBS symptoms. According to data, more than 15% of the American population is gluten intolerant. But here comes the scary fact: more than 90% of them never test for gluten sensitivity.
More than half of the diseases known to medicine are linked to gluten. One in 133 Americans has gluten intolerance. And while it’s easy to diagnose, some people wait for more than five years to check for gluten intolerance. Considering what may happen if you ignore your gluten sensitivity, it’s a shame that people ignore the symptoms.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms you should pay attention to.
When we talk about digestive issues, we’re talking about chronic digestive issues. Yes, all of us have abdominal pain, bloating, or gas at times. Diarrhea and constipation are also conditions that happen from time to time. However, if you notice that most of these digestive issues occur after consuming foods with gluten, then it might be time to check with the doctor. Your body is trying to tell you something. It’s up to you to listen.
Pay attention to digestive issues that manifest as foul-smelling stool and nausea after consuming gluten. It may happen more than once. Do not ignore the symptoms.
Known also as chicken skin, keratosis pilaris is a common sign of gluten intolerance. And the good news is that this condition is mostly linked to sensitivity to gluten. That means if you notice these goosebumps on the back of your arms, you should check with a doctor. Note: they look like goosebumps, but do not go away as such. Another skin condition that has been linked to intolerance to gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis. And yes, I know that keratosis pilaris is technically harmless. But don’t ignore it. You might miss what your body is trying to tell you.
Fatigue and loss of energy
Have you ever heard of the term “foggy brain”? It is a condition in which your brain gets tired as a result of overwhelming work by your body. What happens is that your body is working hard to remove gluten, a harmful substance, from your system. And that process requires a lot of energy. As a result, you feel like you have no energy left. Fatigue and feeling tired are normal symptoms after eating gluten.
Gluten also causes inflammation in your body, another condition that results in fatigue. This applies only to people who are sensitive to gluten.
As mentioned, consuming gluten can cause inflammation in your body. And one of the eventual results of inflammation is development of an autoimmune disease. Diseases like multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and scleroderma can result from gluten intolerance. If you are sensitive to gluten, you might develop the same symptoms as some of these autoimmune diseases. This is even further emphasized if you have celiac disease.
Depression is one of the most serious health concerns that occur as a result of sensitivity to gluten. But that’s just one of the mental illnesses that might happen. Epilepsy, anxiety, and peripheral neuropathy are also linked with gluten intolerance. And all of them are accompanied by symptoms like dizziness and feeling off balance. As a result, people have trouble calming down, relaxing, and thinking clearly.
Note: some scientists believe that even those who are gluten tolerant can develop symptoms of depression when consuming too much gluten.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Speaking of mental illnesses, we can’t ignore attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It happens mostly in children, but can occur in adults as well. Doctors have found a connection between ADHD and intolerance to gluten. Children have trouble concentrating as well as difficulty learning and staying calm.
In some cases, hormonal imbalance can lead to unexplained infertility. When you are sensitive to gluten, your body has difficulty producing the hormones you need. And it all comes back to the inflammation. When your body is in an inflamed state, it has trouble producing hormones. This can lead to problems with reproduction, no matter the gender; hormonal imbalance is mostly linked to females, but males can suffer as well. The good news is that when you adopt a gluten-free diet, your reproductive system will go back to normal functionality.
Migraines are one of the most common problems nowadays. And according to data from Mark Hyman, MD, a best-selling author and leader in functional medicine, more than 10 million people in America suffer from migraines. And if you have ever experienced a migraine, you know how painful it can be.
Chocolate and gluten are common food allergens for migraines, so don’t ignore the symptom.
We talked about fatigue and low energy at the beginning, but this is something of a different symptom. Fibromyalgia is a condition of chronic fatigue. And that’s the diagnosis you get when your doctor can’t specifically pinpoint the cause of your fatigue. Several studies have proven that gluten intolerance can sometimes be the cause of chronic fatigue. So, it’s not always what you do that causes fatigue; it’s what you put in your stomach.
Sensitivity to gluten, as we mentioned earlier, causes inflammation. And that’s the reason why you feel swelling and/or pain in your joints. Fingers, knees, and hips are most prone to pain due to gluten intolerance. Also, as we mentioned, people with arthritis can also feel the same symptoms as people intolerant to gluten. And the symptoms can be even harsher.
Mood swings and anger management issues are a common problem for people who are sensitive to gluten. It comes down to the depression and mental illnesses we mentioned earlier. Gluten causes your brain to function improperly, and as a result, your mood changes easily and often.
Inflammation is the source of all evil. At least that is something doctors try to warn us about constantly. And because intolerance to gluten causes inflammation, your immune system suffers. As a result, you get sick frequently. If you are prone to the common cold and flu, consider testing yourself for gluten sensitivity.
Weight loss and weight gain
It’s normal to lose weight when working out or following a new diet. Also, if you start eating more, especially during the holidays, gaining a pound or two is normal. But people who are gluten intolerant are known for rapid weight loss and rapid weight gain. And the effect is most visible when you are following a standard caloric intake diet, and you are still gaining weight.
How to test for gluten intolerance
The best way to determine whether you are gluten intolerant or not is to try an elimination diet. What is an elimination diet? During the diet, you eliminate certain foods from your diet, see what happens, and then reintroduce them within two to three weeks.
However, it’s worth noting that gluten is a common protein. It might take you months to determine whether you are sensitive to gluten or not. To get accurate results, you must eliminate 100% of the gluten you regularly consume. And you can always do a lab test for quicker answers.