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6 Signs That You Have a Gluten Intolerance

It may be difficult to identify sensitivity to certain foods. These are the signs that you have a gluten intolerance.

"Gluten" is sort of an umbrella term for the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is naturally occurring, and certainly not inherently evil, but like the word “fat”—one of the main macronutrients in our food—“gluten” has gotten a bad reputation, in part due to some of the widespread gluten myths that people still believe.

Still, gluten can cause serious health issues for some individuals. For those suffering from Celiac disease, their bodies react incorrectly to gluten and their immune system attacks their own intestines. This leads to digestive problems and sufferers must follow gluten-free diets for their health’s sake.

Though Celiac disease comes with a myriad of symptoms which vary between individuals, making it difficult to pinpoint without medical experience, it may be diagnosed with blood tests performed by doctors.

Gluten intolerance, on the other hand, is not so easily diagnosed. Also known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity or Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity, gluten intolerance may not be diagnosable with blood tests, but it may cause unpleasant reactions and health issues.

The next time you eat food containing gluten, watch out for these signs that you have a gluten intolerance.


Bloating happens to everyone at some point and can be caused by many things, ranging from something as innocent as having eaten too quickly to something far more sinister, such as cancer. If bloating consistently occurs immediately after eating food containing gluten, it may point to a gluten sensitivity.

Also, keep in mind that constant bloatedness is not normal. In children, abdominal bloating and pain is a major symptom of Celiac disease. It may also be caused by other serious diseases and should be checked out by a doctor.

Skin Problems

Celiac disease is commonly associated with dermatitis herpetiformis, a serious skin condition in which the skin blisters and itches, especially on knees and elbows, along the hairline, and on the butt—these side effects are just one of the reasons why people should take Celiac disease more seriously. Luckily, a gluten-free diet is usually treatment enough.

Gluten is claimed to cause itchy or scaly skin in those with an intolerance as well, though not to such a severe degree as dermatitis herpetiformis. If you find you have beauty problems after eating foods containing wheat, rye, or barley, eliminating gluten from your diet may help skin clear up.

In addition to avoiding the possible inflammation gluten may cause, adopting a meal plan free of gluten encourages people to eat healthier foods, such as fruit and vegetables, which are great for skin!

Joint/Muscle Pain

Though joint and muscle pain are signs that you have a gluten intolerance, like bloating, it may also have any number of other causes. However, if it happens in tandem with the other signs on this list, it may be caused by your body’s negative reaction to gluten.

The type of joint pain associated with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease feels not unlike arthritis, with stiffness and aching radiating around the joints.

Cognition Problems

Gluten intolerance may cause difficulties with concentration, memory, and general cognitive abilities. Commonly referred to as brain fog, this may cause the sufferer to feel slow, out of touch, and can be a serious disruption as one is going about their day.

More serious signs that you have a gluten intolerance are also depression and/or anxiety. These two mental health disorders are also possible symptoms of Celiac disease, and it is very important to treat them.


Tiredness may be the hardest symptom to pinpoint of all the signs that you have a gluten intolerance. It may be caused by stress, a lack of sleep, too much exercise, or even mental health problems. However, if you can rule out all these causes, feeling constantly tired may be a sign that you are sensitive to gluten. 

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a known sign of both Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Due to the issues Celiac disease and gluten intolerance create with the digestive system, it becomes difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients and energy from food.

Regardless if you suspect your body is reacting negatively to gluten or not, rapid, unintentional weight loss which is not caused by a change in diet or exercise should be taken seriously. It may be a sign of a serious health problem.

Though you may experience one or all of these signs that you have a gluten intolerance, it may be difficult to be certain if gluten is the main cause of your health problems. One method which may help you find out for sure is to go on an elimination diet. To do this, remove all foods containing gluten—such as bread, pastries, beer, and all of the foods on the list of worst foods for Celiac disease—from your diet. If your symptoms fade as you eliminate gluten from your system, you can be fairly confident you have a gluten intolerance. If not, you may try eliminating other foods from your diet to see if you were having negative reactions to other foods. 

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