Is it a Gluten Allergy?

Do you think you could have a gluten allergy? Or do you have a digestive problem called celiac disease? Both conditions are caused by eating things containing gluten and both have very similar symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate. The main difference, though, is that some people with a gluten allergy can tolerate small amounts of this substance, while coeliac disease is more extreme and most people who suffer from this more severe version can't tolerate any gluten at all.

The Symptoms

The way a gluten allergy presents itself can range from person to person, but some of the common symptoms come include some, or all, of the following:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid Reflux

In children with gluten allergy, there can also be irritability, an extended stomach and they may vomit easily. Some people also think there could be a relationship between gluten allergies and autism as well.

The Risk

If you have a gluten allergy, the lining of your small intestine becomes scarred and this prevents food from being absorbed properly. If this condition is not prevented, in addition to the troublesome symptoms that will affect your daily quality of life, a range of serious, long-term effects can also results if it remains untreated over time, including anemia, bone disease and cancer.

The Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you have a gluten allergy, your doctor can run an allergy test and may also want to rule out coelic disease. There is no medication you can take to treat this condition. Instead, if the tests confirm that you are indeed allergic, you will want to eliminate all forms of gluten from your diet to prevent the symptoms from occurring. Many people who suspect they have a gluten allergy try an elimination diet anyway, even without an allergy test, to see if it makes them feel better.

Just keep in mind that gluten is a common ingredient in many foods, so you will need to read labels and look for alternatives such as tapioca, potato flour, rice and maize. You can find these and other gluten free foods in health food stores.

The good news is that when gluten is removed from your menu, the symptoms will resolve and the damage that the condition caused will often be reversed over time.


[1] From an article on diagnosing gluten allergy at