Gluten allergy is the term used for indicating the symptoms of wheat allergy. People who have wheat (and its products) allergy would develop allergic symptoms like rashes and gastrointestinal problems. The symptoms of gluten allergy are very similar to the symptoms of celiac disease. They would have discomfort after eating gluten containing foods and the symptoms will improve only when they switchover to gluten free diet. They are said to have gluten sensitivity and they cannot tolerate gluten rich foods. No special treatment is needed for gluten allergy and the symptoms can be managed by taking gluten free diet.
As said earlier, the symptoms of celiac disease and gluten allergy are similar. Some of the common signs of gluten allergy are bloating sensation, flatulence, diarrhea, heartburn, fatigue and hives/rashes. Some people would develop constipation. Headaches and brain fog are associated with gluten sensitivity for severe cases. In rare cases the person may develop anxiety/depression or mood swings and tingling sensation in hands or legs.
The eyes become red and swollen and sometimes it secretes watery discharge. Like many other types of allergy, people may experience stuffy nose, swelling of face or lips, shortness of breath and nausea/vomiting. These are the true symptoms of wheat allergy and signs of wheat allergy may not involve gluten diet. For people (having gluten allergy) who eat wheat products can develop dermatitis hypertiformitis, with severe itching, burning sensation of skin with multiple bumps of pink or dark red color.
In rare cases gluten allergy can cause potentially dangerous condition called gluten ataxia (a rare type of brain disorder). In such cases consumption of gluten products will affect cerebellum causing symptoms like deterioration of skills, slurred speech, problems in walking and lack of muscle coordination. In most of the cases, the damages caused are irreversible. Initial symptoms will look like loss of balance but it can cause permanent disability.
Causes of gluten allergy are eating gluten rich foods. But what exactly causes allergic reaction is not known.
Gluten allergy is difficult to diagnose with the symptoms alone. Your doctor will complete physical exam and request for series of tests like blood profile (for checking the rate of antibodies), celiac blood test (to rule out celiac disease) and small intestine biopsy. He would recommend for non-celiac gluten sensitivity test also. In case of skin rashes your doctor may suggest skin biopsy to rule out dermatitis herpetiformis.
By avoiding wheat and gluten containing products, you can get significant improvement with your symptoms. No medical treatment is required for mild symptoms. Your doctor may recommend following gluten free diet completely. People with gluten allergy should avoid eating bread crumbs, durum, couscous, bran, farina, einkorn, semolina, sprouted wheat and wheat flour in any form. Any type of cake, wheat grass, malt and wheat berries should be avoided. People with low tolerance of gluten can include acker meal, baked cakes, cereals, hot dogs, ice creams, salads, and pasta and soy products. You need to check for wheat proteins while ordering for foods in restaurants.
Home Remedies and Precautions :
You can consult your doctor about the type of grains to be included and avoided. You may not be allergic to all types of grains but you can check by eating small quantities of oats, rye or barely. If you develop any symptoms you have to avoid such grains also.
Always check the labels while buying any groceries or ordering foods. Gluten allergy can cause serious gastrointestinal disturbance. Some people may develop rashes when they handle wreaths or garlands that contain wheat products. You can always use other flours in your recipe instead of wheat. Alternatively you can use rice flour, corn flour, soy flour and potato starch flour for making interesting recipes.