Finding out that you have a gluten allergy, or even more severely, Celiac Disease, can be extremely difficult. It requires a change of your diet and lifestyle that most aren’t willing to make. However; it is necessary to understand what’s happening in your gut. Otherwise you risk serious health problems, and in the case of Celiac Disease, it can literally cause fatal issues!
Finding out that you have a gluten allergy, or even more severely, Celiac Disease, can be extremely difficult. It requires a change of your diet and lifestyle that most aren’t willing to make.
However; it is necessary to understand what’s happening in your gut. Otherwise you risk serious health problems, and in the case of Celiac Disease, it can literally cause fatal issues!
Not to mention, there are a lot of benefits to being gluten free. Some choose this diet, even without an allergy/disease, because it helps them so much. For bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, being gluten free is just one way to avoid some of the harmful foods out there.
In this article, I’m going to write about some of the signs that you may see in someone who has a gluten allergy. If you are wondering why your stomach is always bothering you, keep reading! This guide may give you some clues.
5 Signs You Might Have a Gluten Allergy/Intolerance
For this guide, we’re going to start with the most obvious signs/symptoms and then get into some more confusing ones.
1. Repeat Stomach Issues
The number one dead giveaway that you have a gluten allergy, is finding yourself with repeat stomach issues for a prolonged period of time. Especially if you notice it when eating or drinking things that contain a lot of gluten. This includes: pizza, bread, pasta, beer, fried foods, sandwiches/subs, processed snacks, and other gluten heavy foods.
If you only notice issues once in a while, this most likely isn’t a gluten allergy. But if you see repeated issues, it very well could be. Here are some examples of the symptoms a gluten allergy would cause, related to your stomach:
- Acid Reflux and Intense Heart Burn
- Lots of Bloating
- Foul Smelling Gas
2. Mental Health/Brain
This is a bit less obvious, but oftentimes is a clear sign someone has a gluten allergy or similar issues. If you find yourself really struggling with brain fog and lots of cloudiness in your head, you may want to ask your doctor about it. Obviously, this symptom could be related to a ton of different diseases and ailments, but here are some signs it is related to a gluten allergy or intolerance.
- Waking up with brain fog after a big meal or weekend of eating/drinking a lot.
- Irritable and sometimes irrational anger. Random mood bursts.
- Depression and loneliness. Sadness from stomach pain.
- Trouble eating, fear of eating, fear or bathroom problems.
3. Skin Issues
This sign is one of the symptoms I experienced the most before I noticed that I had a gluten allergy. All my life, I struggled with eczema and other skin ailments. Especially when I wore certain new clothes, or during gym class/sports. I would come home with terrible rashes on my armpits, knees, in other parts of my stomach and arms. And I would always wonder why?
For literally 18 years of my life, I just thought I had bad eczema and there was nothing I could do.
Then when I turned 19 I started having intense stomach problems. And after tons of tests and doctor visits, I finally figured out it was most likely a gluten allergy. Since going gluten free over 5 years ago, I’ve never had as intense of a skin rash or issue!
I still get rashes and irritations occasionally, but looking back, it was obvious the gluten in my system was causing a lot of this. Your body is always trying to tell you something. Do your best to listen to it. Pay attention to the pains, irritations, and random flare ups you get. They just may be a sign of a gluten allergy!
Here are some other skin ailments common for people with Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy:
- Acne, zits, bumps, and eczema
- Painful burning scalp, lots of dandruff
- Dark circles under the eyes
- More intense rashes from other irritations, heightened by the gluten in your system
- Hives and other blotches
4. Joint/Muscle Issues
This is a serious, and often missed sign of a gluten allergy. If you are someone who is constantly focused on fitness and improving your health, this is an extremely important section. Surprisingly, Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy/intolerance can cause severe joint pains and muscle issues. These may often be confused with other issues like fatigue from working out, age, stress, or a number of other things. But it may very well be from your diet!
Here are some common joint and muscle issues to look for:
- Back pain and heaviness.
- Stiffness and swelling in joints.
- Stiffness in fingers and hands.
- Leg cramps and muscle spasms.
- Swollen hands and/or feet.
5. Miscellaneous Signs
Finally, let’s move on to some of the most confusing and random signs that you may have a gluten allergy. These could be attributed to just about any disease or ailment, so if this is the only symptom you notice, I wouldn’t look into it too much. However; if you notice a lot of stomach problems and other symptoms from issues above, plus the stuff on this list below, definitely consider testing out a gluten free diet to see if it helps you!
Here are some of the miscellaneous symptoms of a gluten allergy:
- Blurred vision and trouble seeing at times.
- Chronic fatigue and weakness.
- Fainting and lots of dizziness.
- Repeat bladder infections, UTIs, and other urinary issues.
- Hemorrhoids and other digestive issues.
- Night sweats and trouble sleeping.
- Racing heart, irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing/asthma.
Having a gluten allergy, or really any stomach issues, can be really tough and stressful on your overall life. We hope this guide can be a good start for you to find out if you may have a gluten allergy. That way, you can heal your gut as quickly as possible, and get back to living your life!
If you’re curious about more, check out this Celiac Disease Symptoms Infographic, which shows all the signs and symptoms. It’s a great help to people who are looking to self diagnose a gluten allergy/intolerance.
Also keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional and none of this is medical advice. These are examples of a lot of the symptoms I faced when discovering my gluten allergy, but every person is different. ALWAYS talk to your doctor, or multiple doctors, to get a good understanding of your health and the safe way to heal your digestive system.
Read next: Should I be working out on an empty stomach?
About the Author:
Mike is a professional photographer and filmmaker who is currently working on FilterGrade, a marketplace for creators. He enjoys the great outdoors and hiking/photographing the beautiful Northeast. Follow @mjmolo on Instagram for more.