Gluten intolerance can strike at any age, and many people living with sensitivity to gluten have never been diagnosed. The signs of gluten intolerance are often misdiagnosed. This is because gluten intolerance often causes symptoms that may at first be attributed to other causes such as stress or skin allergies.
In fact, you may go many years without receiving an accurate diagnosis until you find the right doctor. Unfortunately, gluten intolerance affects your entire body, and delaying treatment can result in system-wide health problems such as malnutrition and adrenal fatigue.
Currently, more research is being done to develop better methods of testing. However, doctors can diagnose gluten intolerance by excluding other causes for your symptoms and testing for antibodies that signal your body views gluten as a threat.
If you do show signs of gluten intolerance, you may also be placed on a gluten-free diet to see if it causes your symptoms to disappear. While living with gluten intolerance isn’t easy, it is a relief to finally have an answer for all of the frustrating symptoms. Although everyone reacts to gluten differently, the following symptoms are definite signs that you may need to consider finding out if gluten is the culprit behind your ill health.
Here are 10 Surprising Signs You Might Have A Gluten Intolerance
1. Blistering Rash
Dermatitis herpetiformis is a skin affliction that commonly affects those with gluten intolerance, and it is often mistaken for other types of skin problems. The watery, itchy blisters that form on the skin resemble pimples or cold sores, and they are caused when an immune response to gluten causes the body to deposit a substance known as Immunoglobulin A under the skin.
The skin eruptions typically occur on pressure point areas of the body such as the elbows, knees, face and scalp, and the intense itching can generate strong urges to scratch that can lead to infections.
2. Additional Skin Issues
In addition to dermatitis herpetiformis, those with gluten intolerance tend to be plagued with addition skin problems. For example, malnutrition caused by improper digestion can lead to keratosis pilaris, or chicken skin, on the back of your arms.
These fine bumps are believed to be caused by fatty acid and vitamin A deficiencies that are related to the body’s intolerance to gluten. It should also be noted that psoriasis, acne and eczema tend to be more severe in people with gluten intolerance.
3. Dry Skin and Heels
At some point, almost everyone experiences dry skin. Yet, those with gluten intolerance will notice that their dry skin never fully clears up. Flaky, white skin on the backs of your heels is another common sign of gluten intolerance. Although exfoliating and moisturizing can help with the dryness, the only way to truly clear it up is by healing your body from the inside by removing gluten from your diet.
4. Extreme Fatigue
Waking up feeling exhausted after a full night of sleep is baffling, yet those with gluten intolerance tend to feel drained the majority of the time. If you find that turning in early still leads to a need to sleep in, your body may be responding negatively to gluten. Brain fog and memory loss can also accompany the physical fatigue, leading you to feel completely sluggish throughout the day.
6. Joint and Muscle Pain
Gluten intolerance creates inflammation throughout the body that affects your joints. Those with arthritis are especially affected, and the response to gluten tends to affect multiple joints at a time. You may also notice increased soreness after working out or pain in muscles that rarely bothered you in the past. Swelling and stiffness may also accompany the pain.
7. Migraine Headaches
The throbbing pain of a migraine headache is impossible to ignore, yet many people overlook digestive disorders as a potential cause. Removing gluten from your diet may provide the added surprise that those debilitating headaches finally go away.
8. Hormonal Imbalances
The adrenal glands are negatively affected by gluten intolerance. For this reason, most people with gluten intolerance also experience hormone imbalances that worsen after menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings and irregular menstrual cycles are signs that your body’s response to gluten is affecting your reproductive system, and young women may experience infertility if it goes untreated.
9. Frequent Illnesses
Anytime your body encounters a potential threat, it directs its resources to fighting it off. Unfortunately, all of the energy used to deal with gluten leaves your immune system weakened. This means that you will be more susceptible to colds and other illnesses that your body once would have easily fought off. You may also find it takes longer to recover from an illness or injury than it did in the past.
10. Depression and Anxiety
These mental conditions often go hand in hand for those with gluten intolerance. Depression is marked by symptoms such as prolonged sadness and a lack of interest in your normal activities. Anxiety sufferers experience chronic worry along with physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath and dizziness. Removing gluten from your diet can help you overcome these feelings so that you can enjoy life again.