Gluten is a protein in cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye. A person with gluten intolerance or sensitivity may experience pain and bloating after eating foods that contain gluten.
Research indicates that around 1% of people in the United States have celiac disease, 1% have a wheat allergy, and around 6% have gluten intolerance — also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
People with celiac disease must avoid gluten, as it can cause intestinal damage and prevent the body from absorbing essential nutrients.
Those with a wheat allergy must avoid all wheat products, as consuming any could even be immediately life threatening.
Gluten intolerance can lead to discomfort, but it is unlikely to cause severe symptoms that require emergency care.
An individual with gluten intolerance will develop symptoms after consuming foods containing wheat, barley, or rye.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance may include:
- abdominal pain
- a general feeling of being unwell
The following symptoms though non-specific might be associated also:
- brain fog
- joint or muscle pain
- skin rashes
A person with a wheat allergy within minutes to a few hours of consuming wheat can develop:
- breathing difficulties, including wheezing & in severe cases, anaphylaxis may develop.
Evaluating for Gluten Intolerance requires careful history taking, asking about symptoms and carrying out a physical exam. Then we will perform laboratory tests or a biopsy to rule out celiac disease and other gastrointestinal conditions.
We then recommend a plan that allows them to monitor the person’s diet, elimination diets and any ill effects of various foods.
Researchers have yet to find any specific biomarker of a gluten intolerance. At present, before diagnosing gluten intolerance, we will need to rule out other gluten associated disorders.