There are over 55 diseases that are said to be connected to gluten, which is the protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. When you’re sensitive to gluten, you could experience a plethora of symptoms. Unfortunately, even medical tests cannot tell you that you have such condition. Often, the results come back negative – tricking the sufferers into thinking they can consume products with gluten.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance can be attributed to other issues, which is why it is difficult to diagnose whether or not you are gluten sensitive. Although it is quite complex, there are symptoms that clearly tell you of your gluten intolerance:
1. You have become moody. After consuming gluten, you will start feeling anxious and depressed. Mood swings happen all the time and even ADD is linked to gluten intolerance.
2. You notice you’re swelling. You look at your fingers and your knees and they are swollen. Your hips are also inflamed and sometimes, your joints hurt. This could be a sign that you are gluten intolerant.
3. You are chronically fatigued. If you go to your doctor for a physical exam and you have been diagnosed of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, this could point to gluten intolerance. This is strengthened by the fact that your doctor cannot seem to identify the cause behind your fatigue.
4. Your head aches. If you continuously suffer from headaches, particularly migraines, this may be a result of gluten sensitivity.
5. Your hormones are imbalanced. Health conditions, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are linked to gluten sensitivity. Infertility also happens in both men and women with celiac disease who consume gluten products.
6. You have a neurological disorder. When you’re always dizzy, you feel off balance, or you have issues with your motor skills, this could be a sign that you are sensitive to gluten.
7. You have an autoimmune disease. You could be sensitive to gluten if you habitually consume gluten products and you are diagnosed with any of the autoimmune diseases such as:
• Multiple sclerosis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
• Ulcerative colitis
• Pernicious anemia
• Type 1 diabetes
8. You feel tired after eating gluten. Your brain doesn’t function like normal and you feel fatigued – these are signs of gluten intolerance.
9. You have chicken skin at the back of your arms. Keratosis pilaris or chicken skin is often brought about by deficiencies in both vitamin A and a fatty acid. This can also happen when you are gluten intolerant because gluten can damage the gut and can lead to improper absorption of fat and the mentioned nutrients.
10. You suffer from digestive problems after eating gluten. Children often experience constipation after eating gluten. This also happens in adults, along with other symptoms, such as gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and bloating.
11. You have skin problems. If you develop a rash when you eat foods with gluten, this could be a sign of gluten intolerance.
Diagnosing Gluten Intolerance
As mentioned, it is a challenge to diagnose whether or not you are gluten sensitive. As you can see from the symptoms above, most of them can also be caused by other illnesses, which causes clinical tests to turn out wrong. Thankfully, doctors can now perform a test in order to determine if there are abnormally high levels of antibodies to gluten in your blood.
If you will take this test, make sure that you eat what you normally do before getting tested. Most people tend to stop consuming gluten before the test, which actually renders the exam useless.
It is important that you understand that this test, although helpful, does not guarantee that it will provide you with perfect results. However, if it has been discovered in the blood test that you are sensitive to gluten and your doctor thinks you have celiac disease, a follow up exam may be performed. A biopsy of the small intestine will be performed next to check if there is damage in this part of the body.
Testing on Your Own
Perhaps when the results came back, you are negative for gluten sensitivity. However, since you are not convinced, you want to do your own test. The best DIY method is to eliminate gluten from your diet for at least two weeks. After the period, you can start eating gluten products again. Note though that gluten is a huge type of protein, which means it may take a few months before it is removed from your body. In this case, hold off your gluten consumption for as long as you can.
If you feel better when you get rid of gluten in your diet, this could mean you really have a gluten problem. For a more accurate result, you should be able to eliminate all of gluten from the food you eat.
Treating Gluten Intolerance
All of gluten means everything that has gluten. Therefore, you should completely eradicate gluten from your diet. Remember that packaged foods are quite sneaky and they put gluten in the ingredients without you knowing it. Make sure you know what you consume, including your supplements and medication since they can contain trace amounts of gluten as well.
If you think that eating a little bit of gluten or consuming products with gluten only for once a month will not put you at risk, think again. A 2001 study revealed that both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease can cause death with just monthly consumption of gluten products.