How do I know if I can tolerate gluten?
GET TO KNOW THE SYMPTOMS THAT YOU SHOULD DISCUSS WITH YOUR DOCTOR TO DETECT IF YOU SUFFER FROM NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY.
I am sure that you have heard people talk about the disorder celiac and gluten intolerance (which doctors define as non-celiac gluten sensitivity). In both cases, the result is a disruption of the small intestine caused by a complex immune response by our body to gluten. Gluten is a protein that carries out reserve functions in wheat and other cereals such as rye, barley and oats, which are widely used in the preparation of many daily foods.
For people who are celiac, the gluten present in many foods produces progressive damage in the lining of the small intestine. At the same time, it prevents foods from being absorbed properly, which can lead to long term problems such as malnutrition and other issues that can decrease quality of life.
The symptoms can be varied and not very specific, which is why it’s possible that many people who are gluten sensitive do not know and have not been diagnosed. However, there are some signs that you should be aware of. If they persist, you should consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis:
- Intestinal symptoms: they are most directly related to the poor absorption of foods, and can include diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps, swelling or abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea or vomiting.
- Sudden or unexpected weight loss, anaemia, delay in the development or growth of children. Loss of energy, lethargy or tiredness after eating.
- Change in behaviour, irritability, difficulty in maintaining attention or concentrating on meals.
- Outbreaks on the skin, burning sensation, prickling sensation, weakness or numbness in legs, or joint pains.
All of these symptoms disappear when you exclude gluten from your diet, and for people who are celiac, the lining of the intestine repairs itself and starts working again normally. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you to choose the most appropriate food to enjoy a balanced and healthy diet.