Gluten Intolerance: How do I know if I am Gluten Intolerant?

If you suspect that you or your loved one could be gluten intolerant, it will help if you consult with an allergist or gastroenterologist from a reputed clinic like Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver, And Gallbladder Clinic. Consulting with the allergist or gastroenterologist is beneficial because it may not be easy for you to personally determine if you’re gluten intolerant or you’re dealing with the most severe form of gluten intolerance, which is celiac disease. The allergist or gastroenterologist will run the necessary tests to determine if you’re gluten intolerant or if you’re having celiac disease.

Gluten intolerance refers to your body’s inability to effectively break down gluten protein that naturally exists in wheat and related grains. It is also commonly known as gluten sensitivity.

The symptoms can range from mild sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by an abnormal reaction of your immune system to gluten.

If you suspect that you or your loved one could be gluten intolerant, it will help if you consult with an allergist or gastroenterologist from a reputed clinic like Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver, And Gallbladder Clinic. Consulting with the allergist or gastroenterologist is beneficial because it may not be easy for you to personally determine if you’re gluten intolerant or you’re dealing with the most severe form of gluten intolerance, which is celiac disease. The allergist or gastroenterologist will run the necessary tests to determine if you’re gluten intolerant or if you’re having celiac disease.

How do you Test for Gluten Intolerance?

Do note that there isn’t a definitive test for gluten intolerance. Therefore, for your gastroenterologist to determine if you’re indeed gluten intolerant, they will have to run tests for celiac disease.

Celiac disease, which is the most severe form of gluten intolerance, has symptoms similar to gluten intolerance. You will also be required to discontinue eating foods rich in gluten for some time.

If the tests that your provider run doesn’t reveal celiac disease and you only get the gluten intolerance related symptoms when you consume gluten, the provider may conclude that you’re gluten intolerant. Here are some of the symptoms that may hint that you could be gluten intolerant.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Iron-Deficiency Anemia
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea that comes with constipation and smelly stool
  • Headaches
  • Skin complications
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Anxiety and brain fog

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If you get these symptoms repeatedly every time you consume gluten-rich foods, you may need to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist to have you checked for gluten intolerance. Here are some of the tests that your doctor may recommend to check for a gluten intolerance if you experience the symptoms listed above.

  • Blood test

Your provider may run a blood test to check for celiac disease in your system. This test works by screening specific antibodies that are predominantly higher among people with celiac disease than those who are healthy. For the medical professional to get conclusive results of you having or not having celiac disease, you will need to include gluten in your diet.

  • Tissue Transglutaminase IgA (tTG-IgA) Antibody Test

Your provider may also recommend the tTG-IgA test for celiac disease. This test will most certainly come out positive if you have celiac disease and your diet currently consist of gluten.

It will also most certainly come out negative if you do not have celiac disease. If you’re taking your child to be tested for gluten intolerance and this test is used, it will most commonly include IgG and Deamidated Gliadin IgA antibodies.

The only concern with this test is that it has some chances for false-positive results. This has been observed in patients who do not have celiac disease but live with a related autoimmune disorder like type-1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

  • IgA Endomysial Antibody (EMA) Test

When checking for gluten intolerance, your provider may recommend this test to diagnose you for celiac disease. It also looks for antibodies in your blood that may hint about the possibility of you having celiac disease.

  • Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) Test

This test is primarily common with patients who are IgA deficient. It may be recommended for diagnosing children who are <2 years and test negative for EMA and tTG antibodies. It can also help in the monitoring of adherence to gluten-free diets.

  • Biopsy

In a biopsy, your gastroenterologist will collect a tissue sample from your small intestine to check for celiac disease. It is the most accurate test for diagnosing celiac disease.

If your provider is using this test to rule out celiac disease when checking for gluten intolerance, they will, in most cases, begin with a blood test like the tTG-IgA. Now, suppose the blood tests hint that you could be having the celiac disease; the gastro specialist will perform an endoscopy to examine the inside of your small intestines. They will also collect a tissue sample for the biopsy for further analysis before recommending any dietary changes.

  • Total Serum IgA Test

This test may be recommended to check if you are IgA deficient. This is important because if you’re IgA deficient, the doctor may end up with false-negative EMA or tTG-IgA test results. If the Total Serum IgA test indicates that you’re IgA deficient, the gastro specialist may recommend that you have tTG-IgG or the DGP test.

  • Genetic Testing

In attempts to rule out celiac disease if you’re suspected of gluten intolerance, your provider may also recommend genetic testing. The genetic testing used here checks for human leukocyte antigens (HLA-DQ2) and the (HLA-DQ8).

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Can you suddenly become Gluten Intolerant?

You will most commonly not be aware of your gluten intolerance condition until when you begin to notice symptoms common with gluten intolerant patients. You may also suddenly become gluten intolerant, but this will majorly be influenced by genetic factors.

Depending on you as an individual, you may develop gluten intolerance symptoms early in life. Alternatively, you may also become gluten intolerant when you’re older.

If you suddenly begin seeing gluten intolerance symptoms, your best bet would be to immediately seek medical care. It will help if you see a gastroenterologist who will run the relevant tests and give you the appropriate treatments depending on your situation.

You will also be given dietary advice on the essential foods you may need to scrape off your diet. Real quick; here are some of the foods your dietitian would want you to keep off if you get gluten intolerance symptoms every time you eat gluten.

  • Grains containing gluten include wheat, rye, barley, wheat berries, triticale, spelt, farina, faro, and triticale, among others.
  • Most crackers, bread, and wraps
  • Condiments like soy sauce, marinades, and spice blends
  • Wheat-based pasta
  • Beverages made with gluten-containing ingredients, for example, beer, commercial chocolate milk, and premade coffee drinks, etc.

Take Away

You can only know if you’re gluten intolerant once a qualified gastroenterologist or an allergist have run tests that indicate that you do not have celiac disease thus leaving you with a possibility of being gluten intolerant. Schedule an appointment with us today to review your symptoms if you suspect that you’re gluten intolerant. That way, you will be able to avert the possibility of your condition escalating to celiac disease.