Food Hygiene and Safety

15 Most Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Gluten intolerance is a condition that has received a lot of attention in recent years, with an increasing number of people having symptoms related to gluten consumption. Symptoms of Gluten intolerance can range from moderate to severe and may include —

  • digestive issues, 
  • skin problems, 
  • fatigue etc. 

Knowing the symptoms of gluten intolerance is crucial for finding out the underlying condition and building the right management strategy. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the symptoms of gluten intolerance, such as celiac disease, wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, to help you better understand this complex set of disorders.

Close-up of gluten-free food like various pasta, bread and snacks on wooden background

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is when the body has an abnormal response to a protein called gluten that is found in —

  • Wheat, 
  • Barley and 
  • Rye.

Gluten intolerance encompasses several conditions related to this abnormal body response to gluten. These conditions include the following—

  • Celiac disease, 
  • Wheat allergy, 
  • and Non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

These conditions affect people of all ages and genders and can significantly reduce their quality of life. 

According to research, around 1% of people living in the US have celiac disease, 1% have a wheat allergy, and 6% or more have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Let’s explore 15 common symptoms of Gluten Intolerance based on the above conditions.

Close-up of multi-coloured gluten-free vegetable fusilli pasta

What are the Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?

Symptoms of gluten intolerance differ based on which of the three types of intolerance (celiac disease, wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity) a person has. Following are some common symptoms for each type:

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease, a gluten allergy, is a digestive disorder affecting people with gluten sensitivity. If people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, their immune system attacks the small intestine. This can lead to damage to the small intestine, which can cause a variety of symptoms.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Some of the common symptoms of this autoimmune disease include:

Digestive Problems

Celiac disease can cause digestive problems such as —

  • diarrhoea, 
  • constipation, 
  • bloating, gas, 
  • abdominal pain, 
  • and nausea.

Skin Problems

Celiac disease can cause skin issues such as —

  • rashes, 
  • itching, 
  • and blisters.

Nutrient Deficiencies

As the celiac disease can damage the small intestine, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This can result in a variety of symptoms, such as —

  • fatigue, 
  • weakness, 
  • anaemia, 
  • and bone pain.

Weight Loss

People with celiac disease may lose weight due to nutrient malabsorption.

Behavioural Changes

Some celiac disease patients may develop —

  • irritability, 
  • depression, 
  • and anxiety.

Delayed Growth

Children with celiac disease may undergo delayed growth and puberty due to the lack of nutrients.

Joint and Muscle Pain

People with celiac disease might have an easily triggered nervous system, which can cause muscle and joint pain. This sensitivity may be caused by genetics.

Leg or Arm Numbness

Another surprising sign of gluten intolerance is neuropathy, which causes numbness or tingling in your arms and legs.


If you feel you or someone you know has celiac disease, see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. The only treatment is to avoid gluten entirely. This means not eating the foods that contain gluten, such as —

  • bread, 
  • pasta, 
  • and many processed foods. 

 With proper care, people can manage their symptoms and live healthy life.

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Close-up of child in a wheat field eating bread

Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in wheat, including gluten and other compounds. When a person with a wheat allergy eats wheat or wheat-containing products, their immune system reacts by producing antibodies that release chemicals in the body. This can cause a range of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe.

Wheat allergy is more common in children than adults, and it is believed that 66% of children outgrow wheat allergies by 12.

Symptoms of Wheat Allergy

Some of the common symptoms of wheat allergy include:

Digestive Problems

People who are allergic to wheat may experience —

  • abdominal pain, 
  • bloating, 
  • diarrhoea, 
  • nausea, 
  • and vomiting.

Skin Problems

Wheat allergy can cause skin problems such as —

  • hives, 
  • itching, 
  • and eczema.

Respiratory Problems

Wheat allergy can cause respiratory problems such as —

  • asthma, 
  • wheezing, 
  • and breathing problems.


In severe instances, wheat allergy can result in anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis symptoms include —

  • breathing problems, 
  • swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, 
  • rapid heartbeat, 
  • and loss of consciousness.

If you feel that you or someone you know has a wheat allergy, you should consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Wheat allergy is diagnosed through skin prick tests or blood tests. Once identified, the only treatment for wheat allergy is to avoid wheat and wheat-containing items. These include:

  • Reading food labels carefully and 
  • Avoiding foods that contain wheat, such as bread, pasta, and cereal.

Close-up of Gluten bread text on sliced bread on the top of table

Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition where a person experiences symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods but does not have celiac disease or wheat allergy. The exact cause of NCGS is not yet understood, but it is thought to be connected to a sensitivity to gluten or other components of wheat. It is not life-threatening but can be uncomfortable and interfere with daily life.

Symptoms of Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Some of the common symptoms of NCGS include:

Digestive Problems

People who have NCGS may experience digestive problems such as —

  • bloating, gas, 
  • abdominal pain, 
  • constipation,
  • nausea,
  • and diarrhoea.


NCGS can result in symptoms of fatigue and lethargy.

Skin Problems

Some people experience rashes that resemble symptoms similar to eczema or psoriasis, but more research is required to prove a direct link to the symptoms of gluten sensitivity.


Headaches or migraines may occur in some patients with NCGS.

Brain Fog

NCGS can cause cognitive symptoms such as —

  • trouble focusing, 
  • memory problems, 
  • and confusion.

Joint Pain

NCGS can induce joint pain and inflammation.


A numbness or tingling feeling that may or may not be painful most regularly in the hands and feet, although it can also affect other parts of the body.


If you suspect you have NCGS, consult a doctor for an exact diagnosis. NCGS is diagnosed by an elimination process in which celiac disease and wheat allergy are ruled out through testing. 

The only treatment for NCGS once detected is a gluten-free diet. This includes avoiding all gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, and rye. In addition, people with NCGS can manage their symptoms and live healthy life with proper management.

Just one thing

If you feel you have gluten-related issues, keep a food diary. Write down everything you consume, the resulting symptoms, and the times they occur for three days, then see if you can make any correlations.

In our informative blog post, find out everything you need to realise about food poisoning, including its different types, causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Wrapping Up

The symptoms of gluten intolerance can vary significantly from person to person and can be difficult to detect. However, by paying attention to your body’s reactions and working with a medical professional, it is possible to manage and even remove the challenges of gluten intolerance. If you have symptoms of gluten intolerance, it’s vital to prioritise your health and wellness by discovering the appropriate treatment option, such as picking a diet without gluten or looking into other choices.


What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance is a disorder in which the body struggles to digest particular foods, resulting in symptoms such as bloating, nausea, and diarrhoea. Food intolerances, unlike food allergies, do not involve the immune system and are generally less severe.

What are food allergies?

Food allergies take place when the immune system reacts to a specific food as if it were toxic. This can result in symptoms such as hives, swelling, trouble breathing, and anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction in severe cases.

What is a dairy allergy?

A dairy allergy is a food allergy where the immune system reacts to the proteins found in milk and other dairy products. Symptoms can range from mild, such as hives and itching, to severe, such as difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. 

What are the unusual symptoms of gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance’s most common unusual symptoms are Anaemia, bone disease, high liver enzyme level, neurological issues such as migraines, short stature, and reproductive problems.

How can I test for gluten intolerance at home?

Several at-home kits are available for testing for various food sensitivities, including gluten sensitivity, and require a little stool (poop) or finger-prick blood sample.

How long after eating gluten do symptoms start?

For most individuals, symptoms of gluten intolerance usually develop within an hour of taking gluten. However, some people may experience symptoms of gluten intolerance 12 hours or more after eating gluten. The same may be true for people with gluten sensitivity.

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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.