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The Big Deal About Gluten–Part 3, Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

file0002014167620Over the past two weeks here at High Desert Blogging, we have asked “what’s the big deal about gluten?” and shared information about the most common gluten related illnesses.  This week, we will look at the sometimes surprising symptoms of gluten intolerance.

As previously discussed, gastrointestinal distress is often a symptom of gluten intolerance.  These symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating,  nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even constipation.  These symptoms aren’t entirely unexpected when you have an allergy or an intolerance to something that you eat.

According to an article at Health.US , there are a many other symptoms which individually might not indicate a problem with gluten, but when they occur in combination, it should cause one to suspect gluten intolerance.

1.  Anemia:  Irritation of the gastrointestinal walls from gluten affects absorption of nutrients from food.

2.  Skin Rashes:  Extremely itchy skin rashes that appear on your face, hairline, torso, arms, elbows, or buttocks.

3.  Migraines:  Headaches can be symptoms of many medical problems.  When migraines are accompanied by daily diarrhea, a low iron count and a rash, it may point straight to gluten sensitivity.  Especially if your migraine starts one to two hours after eating a food that contains gluten.

4.  Joint pain:  Since gluten causes an auto-immune response in the body of those who are gluten sensitive, it may cause an inflammatory response in the body.  That inflammation will make itself known in various ways.  Joint pain is one of these ways.

5.  Lactose intolerance:  Because gluten compromises the stomach lining and affects the body’s  lactase, many people who are gluten sensitive are also lactose intolerant.

6.  Chronic Fatigue:  By itself, Chronic fatigue is not a strong indicator of gluten intolerance; however, when combined with frequent diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, it may be related to gluten sensitivity.  Fatigue is sure to become a problem when the body is not absorbing essential nutrients and vitamins.

7.  Fibromyalgia:  The inflammation caused by the autoimmune response described in regards to joint pain can occur any where in the body, and there are some medical experts who believe that fibromyalgia is a symptom and not a disease.  Some people have reported that their fibromyalgia symptoms improved when they removed gluten from their diets.

There are other symptoms attributed to gluten intolerance which include brain fog, dizziness, and feeling off balance, as well as psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and attention deficit disorder.  In addition, there are those who attribute hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS, or unexplained infertility to gluten sensitivity.

If you are interested in a Gluten Sensitivity Self Test, check out this one from the Dr. Oz Show.


**Patti is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

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