Gluten Allergy Tips

So, you’re feeling tired and headachy, and your digestive system is off (and has been for what seems like forever). Maybe you have some other symptoms: a rash, dandruff, a feeling that you’re operating in a depressed and disorganized manner, or are just in a fog. And maybe you’ve been trying to get pregnant, but it’s not working …and you have no idea why.

You’ve heard about gluten and know that lots of people are going gluten-free, and you start to wonder: Could I have a gluten allergy, too?

Well, maybe. There are actually five different kinds of gluten allergies, and each has its own set of signs and symptoms. Still, there’s plenty of overlap between these five conditions, and many of their symptoms involve the types of sometimes vague problems listed above: digestive issues, skin issues, and neurological issues.

Of course, not everyone with these symptoms will have a gluten allergy — there are plenty of other possible causes for each. But the possibility is worth considering if you and your physician can’t identify other potential reasons for your problems. Suffering from one or more of these nine signs could indicate that you may have a gluten allergy and should have some testing done, or that you should talk to your doctor about a trial of the gluten-free diet.

2 Dysfunctional Digestion

Woman asleep on couch with hot water bottle
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Not everyone with a gluten-related issue suffers from digestive problems, but enough people do have this issue to make it number one on our list.

These “problems” can involve diarrhea, constipation, reflux, or simply abdominal pain, and they’re frequently seen when you have one of the two most common types of gluten allergy: celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

In some cases, people who’ve been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome actually have a form of gluten allergy, and when they stop eating gluten, their IBS diminishes or goes away entirely.

Do you need to have digestive symptoms to have a gluten allergy? Nope, not at all — in fact, lots of people have one of the other issues on our list as their primary symptom, and report having cast iron stomachs. But if you do have dysfunctional digestion, it’s possible that gluten is the cause.

Learn more about potential digestive symptoms:

Gluten vs. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Can Celiac Disease Cause Reflux Symptoms?
Celiac Disease and Constipation
Can You Have Celiac Disease Without Diarrhea?

3 Intractable Dandruff

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Do you methodically avoid dark tops? Is your go-to shampoo Head & Shoulders (or something medicated and smelly that contains coal tar)? You probably think you have a dandruff problem, but you may in fact have a gluten allergy problem instead.

Most common dandruff is (also known as seborrheic dermatitis) actually a form of eczema, a skin condition that’s been linked to celiac disease (one of our five different types of gluten allergy).

There’s less research available to confirm a link between gluten sensitivity (another type of gluten allergy) and eczema, but anecdotal evidence indicates there may be one as well.

Finally, at least one study has linked chronic eczema (on your scalp or elsewhere) with wheat allergy, yet a third form of gluten allergy.

Not all dandruff stems from seborrheic dermatitis/eczema — some cases actually involve psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that also shares connections with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Psoriasis on your scalp looks very much like seborrheic dermatitis, but if you have psoriasis, you’ll probably also have it elsewhere on your body, too.

Still, regardless of the specific condition involved, many people who go gluten-free to help digestive or other issues actually find their dandruff subsiding — a welcome bonus if you’ve suffered with those unsightly white flakes for most of your life.

Learn more about dandruff and other skin conditions:

Can Eating Gluten-Free Help with Your Eczema Treatment?
Can Gluten Cause Psoriasis?