How to Tell If You're Allergic to Gluten

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  • By Robin Westen

    If you’re one of the estimated ten percent of Americans who is sensitive to the protein found in wheat, rye and barley, you might be gluten intolerant. And if the ingredient isn’t limited or removed entirely from your diet, and you develop a full-blown allergy, it could cause damage to your small intestine. Here are some signs of gluten intolerance:
  • Headaches While there’s no specific type of headache associated with gluten intolerance, it usually comes on within 30 minutes to an hour after eating gluten.
  • Exhaustion After Eating Most of us can feel a dip in our energy after eating a big meal while our body is metabolizing the food. But how about just a sandwich? Take note if you feel wiped out after consuming even small amounts of gluten.
  • Sensation in Extremities If you experience joint pain or numbness or tingling in your arms and legs, after eating gluten, it’s an indication of intolerance.
  • Mood Changes If there’s a significant shift in your emotional state after eating wheat, rye or barley, it’s another sign. Most specifically, those with the condition complain of feeling suddenly irritable or anxious.
  • Confusion The inability to focus is another common complaint. Do you easily lose your train of thought and find it difficult to concentrate after consuming gluten?
  • Weight Changes Gluten sensitivities are most notably associated with weight loss, but gluten intolerance can also result in unexplained weight gain over time.

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge's Medical Director. Check for her daily updates. Her latest book, co-written with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."