Signs of Gluten Intolerance

These days, having an intolerance to wheat and gluten foods is becoming increasingly common. Studies have shown that as many as 15 percent of Americans suffer from some form of gluten intolerance.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. It is also used as a filler in many canned soups, spices, sauces, mixes, and other processed products. People have been eating it for centuries, and it is only within the past 50 years that doctors have begun to understand the serious effect that it has on many people.

In people with gluten intolerance, the lining of the small intestines are irritated and slowly destroyed by an ongoing reaction to the presence of gluten in the diet. If this process goes on long enough, it can lead to serious illness or even death. However, the condition can be difficult to diagnose because every individual has different symptoms. Some people don't have any noticeable symptoms at all, at least not until the signs of malnutrition begin to show themselves after many years of accumulated intestinal damage.

For the people who do suffer noticeable effects, the symptoms can present themselves in a number of different ways. Stomach cramps, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other abdominal symptoms are probably the most common, but gluten can also cause achy joints, fatigue, headaches, stunted growth, infertility, sores of the mouth, wasting of the muscles, dramatic weight loss or the inability to lose weight, nosebleeds, nerve damage, and a number of nutritional deficiencies.

Mental disorders are also a common symptom of gluten intolerance. A patient may experience intense depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and uncontrollable rage. Sadly, people often mistake these symptoms for a simple chemical imbalance and begin taking medication to relieve their suffering, not realizing that these symptoms can be sign of a serious intolerance.

Skin disorders and rashes are another huge sign of an intolerance, especially chronic disorders such as cystic acne, hives or psoriasis.

If you suspect you have any form of gluten intolerance, you should talk to your doctor about testing today. If you can't afford a visit to the doctor, consider simply removing gluten foods from your diet for a period of time and seeing if any symptoms improve. You won't know for sure if you have a legitimate intolerance, but if you feel better without gluten, that's all you need to know.