Though current research data on the subject is fairly limited, there are some common patterns and signs among people suffering from a gluten allergy or intolerance. The list below includes the most common symptoms associated with gluten allergies and intolerance according to data published by medical professionals.
Headaches or Trouble Concentrating
Research by Columbia University found a high rate of chronic headaches and migraines amongst those suffering from gluten allergies or intolerance. While almost everyone experiences the occasional headache, people that react negatively to gluten seem to be more prone to them, and may even suffer pain directly after ingesting gluten products.
In addition to headaches, many sufferers complain that their mind feels sluggish, or that they have difficulty concentrating and maintaining their train of thought in conversations. In the most severe cases, short-term memory loss and disorientation have also been recorded in studies focused on celiac disease and gluten-related allergies.
Dry Skin or Rashes
Celiac disease and, to a lesser extent, gluten allergies, are linked to scalp dandruff and several types of skin disorder. While much of the data in relation to gluten allergies is anecdotal, occurrences of dry, flaky, and itchy scalp seems to be a consistent trend amongst sufferers. Both eczema and seborrheic dermatitis are linked to celiac disease, while an allergy to wheat in particular has been tentatively connected to psoriasis.
Those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are also at risk for skin disorders such as dermatitis herpetiformis and hives, though symptoms have been reported to diminish when products containing gluten are removed from the patient’s diet. While dandruff or skin rashes certainly aren’t a guarantee that a person suffers from gluten sensitivity, they may be a warning sign in conjunction with other symptoms.
Numbness or Tingling in the Limbs
Numbness or a tingling sensation in the arms, legs, and feet is a commonly reported symptom in people suffering from celiac disease, gluten ataxia, and gluten sensitivity. This sensation is also commonly associated with a variety of other conditions, such as diabetes, vitamin deficiency, and nerve damage, but it might be time to ask the doctor about a gluten-free diet if there seems to be no reasonable cause for the problem to occur.
Depression or Irritability
Depression and Irritability are likely the least reliable symptoms to base a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten allergies on, simply because both conditions have such a high prevalence in the general population. However, many studies have found a strong link between depression and celiac disease, as well as gluten ataxia. People suffering from gluten intolerance seem to have a higher chance of being depressed or quick to anger, a trend that occurs in adults, teens, and even children. Many people with gluten allergies or intolerance report becoming more irritable or irrationally upset within minutes of consuming a product containing gluten.
Upset Stomach and Indigestion
Digestive problems are one of the most common complains amongst those suffering from celiac disease, gluten allergies, or gluten sensitivity. Diarrhea, acid reflux, constipation, cramps, or localized stomach pains are all potential symptoms. These issues also occur frequently in people diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but in some cases those people may be suffering from a gluten allergy as well. There are many reported cases where reducing or eliminating gluten from the diet has seen a decrease or even disappearance of IBS symptoms.
Keep in mind that these symptoms are only guidelines meant to explore some of the most commonly-reported issues faced by people suffering from a variety of gluten-related illnesses. Because there are so many other health issues that may exhibit similar symptoms, it is essential to secure a professional opinion if experiencing multiple of the above symptoms.