Are there health issues you might experience if you are gluten intolerant? One specific illness called celiac disease is one adverse immune reaction that occurs in a person’s body when they consume foods that contain gluten. This gluten is a protein that’s found in foods like wheat, rye and barley.
If you happen to have celiac disease, there are several health issues (symptoms) that can arise if you eat foods you should not eat. While not everyone is affected by celiac disease, you can still be gluten intolerant without being diagnosed as celiac. This basically means that you will experience similar symptoms, but perhaps just not as severe.
Sadly, statistics are showing that more and more people are becoming intolerant to gluten and the problem is growing. Some studies show this increase could be due to the increased common use of genetically modified wheat in so many of the foods we eat today. Honestly, the jury is still out on this theory, and it depends on who you talk to, but what really matters is that you are aware of potential issues and recognize the different symptoms and know how they affect you and your health.
Since many of the symptoms you might feel resemble other normal issues, it’s easy to overlook the symptoms that you may experience every now and then.
Another common misconception is that gluten only affects your digestive system when in reality, many people experience a variety of symptoms like skin rashes, eczema, and headaches. Many times, these symptoms are a result of gluten intolerance. In the rest of this article, we’ll look at some of the issues that come up.
- Digestive issues
This issues is probably the most commonly experienced and most obvious. When you eat something your body doesn’t tolerate, you’ll have symptoms. For many who are gluten intolerant they may experience things like being bloated, they might be gassy or even experience abdominal cramps. Many times, even diarrhea is a common and uncomfortable problem.
On the surface, the symptoms mentioned here might seem fairly harmless and just create discomfort for you. Unfortunately, there could be more serious issues happening like inflammation of the lower intestine and it not functioning properly.
When a body is inflamed and not working properly, you are not able to absorb the nutrients from food your body needs. Besides that, a persons stools may become looser creating an urgent need to use the bathroom several times a day to empty the bowels. If this happens too much, it becomes an issue with staying hydrated from the loss of fluids on a daily basis.
This particular symptom really depends on how a persons body is reacting to the gluten. Some may have just the digestive issues, in other cases, the sufferer may experience acid reflux and heartburn.
- Mental problems and nerve issues
As if digestive issues weren’t enough, some people experience headaches, fogginess and even numbness in extremities and these can be symptom of celiac disease. The headaches can be strong and recur often. Believe it or not, eliminating gluten from the diet can be one of the best ways to get rid of the headaches.
As for numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. It’s hard to imagine this could be related to what you eat (gluten) but if you seek to have some improvement, you’ll need to eliminate gluten from your diet for these symptoms too.
Sidenote: If you are experiencing numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, it’s best to speak to your doctor soon because it could be a sign of other health issues. Getting your doctors professional medical opinion is highly recommended.
- Skin, hair and other problems
This was my first sign that let me know I had to avoid gluten in my diet. Keratosis pilaris, dermatitis herpetiformis and rashes are all linked to gluten intolerance. The rashes are most often found on joints like elbows and even the back of the knee. Eczema and rashes might even show up on your scalp, forearms and back too.
If you are experiencing rashes, they may come and go depending on what you eat, but if you want them to disappear permanently, you’ll need to get on a gluten-free diet and stick to it.
For me personally, I can tell almost immediately that I’ve eaten something with gluten. My scalp starts itching, my skin itches, and I get a burning rash behind my ears – yep, behind my ears.
Here’s something I did NOT know. Besides skin problems, gluten intolerance can lead to hair loss too. And as if everything I have already mentioned is NOT enough, you can experience joint pain, mouth ulcers, fatigues, memory problems, bruising, and so much more. These are all symptoms of Celiac disease.
Besides the complications of celiac disease, you are also at risk for heart disease, cancer, lung problems and even infertility is affected when you’re gluten intolerant but you keep eating it.
By now I hope you’ve realized that gluten intolerance is one of those health issues that seems harmless on the surface to some people and only has uncomfortable symptoms… but if you don’t stop it in its tracks and keep ingesting gluten, it can lead to severe and debilitating, dangerous health problems. Is something you eat really worth that in the long run?
Look, I’m preaching to the choir. I am guilty of continuing to eat things I know I shouldn’t all because I crave it only to wake up the next day wondering why I didn’t just say no. I’m still working on it.
I am not celiac, but if you are diagnosed with celiac disease or you’re non-celiac gluten intolerant like me, please consider taking immediate steps to just eliminate gluten from your diet. You’ll protect your health, hopefully undo some damage, and you will just feel so much better.
If you have enjoyed this article, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear if you have issues with gluten. Questions, please feel free to contact me.