Over 18 million Americans have some form of gluten intolerance. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize they’re sensitive to gluten-containing foods. While “going gluten-free” may help in many ways, people often go years without ever realizing they are sensitive to gluten. Even though some people are diagnosed within 10 years, many people with the condition will never be diagnosed. (1)
And that’s a shame when you consider how far-reaching the symptoms are. Some people go to all sorts of lengths to treat the mental and physical symptoms of gluten intolerance, but they never really figure out that gluten is at the root of their problems. (2)
Are you one of them?
10 Commonly Ignored Signs and Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
1. Digestive Issues
First, many digestive issues are associated with gluten intolerance. In fact, these are probably the most well-known reactions to gluten. For example, gas, abdominal pain or cramping, and bloating are common, and others experience diarrhea or constipation. (3)
Also pay attention to foul-smelling stools and nausea after eating foods with gluten, as that’s likely your body trying to tell you something.
2. Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as chicken skin, is a skin condition that appears as raised, hard bumps on the skin. They look like goosebumps, but they don’t go away like goosebumps would. This skin condition along with dermatitis herpetiformis, a similar skin condition, has been linked to gluten intolerance. (4)
It can be easy to shrug off a skin condition like keratosis pilaris, as it’s technically harmless, but that’s likely why it often gets missed as a reaction to gluten. (5)
3. Loss of Energy or Attention
If you feel like your brain is foggy or fatigued after eating a meal with gluten, then you may be showing signs of gluten intolerance. Why? Well, brain fog and fatigue can happen because your body is working hard to remove a harmful substance, which takes away from your normal energy. (6)
4. Diagnosis of an Autoimmune Disease
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If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and are experiencing some of the other symptoms we’ve mentioned, the culprit for all could be a gluten intolerance.
Many people sensitive to gluten will develop the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, especially if they also have Celiac disease. (7)
5. Mental Illness
Neurological issues, like peripheral neuropathy (tingling in the extremities), epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and ADHD, may all associated with gluten intolerance. (8)
Interestingly enough, although people sensitive to gluten are more susceptible to its depression-causing properties, even those without gluten intolerance have been found to experience depression when eating it consistently. (9)
Gluten intolerance may cause inflammation and changes in hormone balance. When a gluten-sensitive person eats gluten, the body changes, which can make it more difficult to contribute to reproduction – whether male or female. (10)
Once gluten-intolerant patients adopt a gluten-free diet, their reproductive system goes back to normal.
Food intolerances vary from person to person. In fact, your reaction to different foods, like chocolate or gluten, may be the reason for your migraines. If you get chronic migraine headaches, it may be a gluten intolerance. (11)
8. Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia
According to one study, a gluten intolerance may be the source of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, many people who are diagnosed with these conditions never understand why they have them. In fact, it may be as simple as what they’re putting in their stomachs. (12)
9. Joint Pain
Joint pain, inflammation, and swelling are common signs of gluten intolerance. If you suffer from gluten intolerance, then your body will react to it, and inflammation is the first line of defense for any harm to the body, like toxicity or injury. (13) Many people with arthritis may not realize they also have a gluten intolerance. Therefore, they face harsher arthritis symptoms as a result of continuing a gluten-laden diet. (14)
10. Mood Swings
You don’t have to experience full-blown depression to know that gluten is affecting your outlook on life. Eating gluten when you’ve got an intolerance to it can lead to mood swings, too. You may also experience feelings of frustration or even anger. In fact, gluten intolerance can lead to anger management issues. (15)