Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
Comparison to the Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Gluten intolerance symptoms and symptoms of celiac disease are very similar. In fact, celiac disease is a form of gluten intolerance. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, you are gluten intolerant. However, some people have gluten intolerance symptoms without having celiac disease. Though the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not really the same thing.
Gluten Intolerance Versus Celiac Disease
Gluten intolerance refers to any condition in which a person does not tolerate gluten well. Eating foods containing gluten causes certain symptoms in a person with gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is a specific autoimmune disease in which a person does not tolerate gluten well. Specifically, people with celiac disease respond to gluten with an immune response that inflames and damages the lining of the small intestine.
People with celiac disease will experience gluten intolerance symptoms when they eat gluten, but they will also suffer damage to the small intestine. This damage means they will not be able to absorb nutrients effectively and are at risk for serious nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, people who simply have an intolerance to gluten but do not have celiac disease will experience unpleasant symptoms when they eat gluten, but the symptoms will go away as soon as the gluten is eliminated from their system and their small intestine will not be damaged.
Gluten Intolerance SymptomsSymptoms of gluten intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, gassiness, and diarrhea. Symptoms occur when a gluten intolerant person eats something containing wheat, rye, or barley. Symptoms may be cumulative over time, though. Eating one slice of bread may cause some symptoms, but if a person has toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner, and if he eats this way every day, his symptoms are going to get worse and worse. Symptoms usually go away pretty quickly if a person changes his diet, though, and cuts out the gluten. And while symptoms of gluten intolerance are uncomfortable, they are rarely harmful and do not cause any lasting damage.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Symptoms of celiac disease include all those gluten intolerance symptoms, but there may be other symptoms, as well. Other symptoms include a rash, bone and joint pain, sores in the mouth, missed menstrual periods, infertility, edema, and seizures. Not every person experiences all of these symptoms of celiac disease, and in fact some people have very few symptoms, but these are all possible symptoms of the condition.
People with celiac disease often develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies, too, due to the damage to the small intestine, and these deficiencies all carry their own set of symptoms. Symptoms of nutritional deficiencies can include severe fatigue due to iron deficiency, nerve damage and depression due to vitamin B12 deficiency, problems with blood clotting due to vitamin K deficiency, severe muscle cramps due to potassium deficiency, and the development of osteoporosis due to vitamin D and calcium deficiency.
The symptoms of celiac disease do improve greatly if a person eliminates gluten from his diet, but because celiac disease involves actual damage to the small intestine, symptoms do not resolve as quickly as they do in cases of simple gluten intolerance. Eventually the lining of the small intestine may heal and symptoms may completely go away, though in some cases the damage does not heal completely and some symptoms may remain. It can take a long time for some vitamin and mineral deficiencies to resolve, as well, and in some cases nutritional deficiencies can cause permanent damage. For instance, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause permanent, irreversible nerve damage.
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