Gluten intolerance can be a troublesome and severely symptomatic condition. Once diagnosed, the treatment is relatively simple. But many sufferers are not even aware of what causes their problems.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance are the consequence of an immunological problem where the body mistakenly launches a defensive attack on foreign protein. When combined with malnutrition, this autoimmune assault can cause severe intestinal symptoms.
Within the small intestine, the lining is made up of folds called villi. These help increase the surface area to facilitate better absorption of ingested food. In gluten intolerance these villi gradually die, which results in the bowel being unable to handle proteins in wheat, barley or rye. As a consequence, malnutrition occurs which further compounds the situation.
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
Early in the condition, patients notice bloating and gas. This is seen more often after a meal that includes foods containing gluten. Fatigue, constipation and dizziness are also features of severe gluten insensitivity.
In later stages of the disorder, diarrhea alternating with constipation occurs in combination with some of the following symptoms:
- stomach cramps
- chronic fatigue
- frequent headache
- tingling sensations or numbness in the hands and feet
- night sweats
- wheezing and other allergies
- skin rash and dermatitis
Most patients do not have all the symptoms at once. The rate at which they develop over the course of the illness varies. Some mild sufferers may not even become aware of the condition for many years.
How to Treat Gluten Intolerance?
A cornerstone of treatment for gluten sensitivity is a strict avoidance of all types of food containing gluten. Every item of food, and even supplements, should be examined to make sure that they do not contain gluten. Even when it is only used as a filler or carrier, gluten can trigger symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Many snacks include gluten protein, so it is mandatory to check if the facility where they are manufactured also processes other gluten-rich foods and avoid eating such snacks if found to be prepared in this manner.
Food supplements that provide fiber and vitamin D have some beneficial role in gluten intolerance. This is helpful because people suffering gluten intolerance will frequently develop vitamin D deficiency due to alteration in the gut’s ability to absorb minerals and nutrients.
Taking additional gut enzyme preparations and probiotics can help ameliorate some of the symptoms that result from gluten intolerance. These enzymes and probiotics also aid in digestion and help improve nutrition levels by ensuring that vital nutrients are absorbed better.
Gluten intolerance is a serious disorder and can lead to severe complications if left unattended. Its symptoms are very similar to Leaky Gut Syndrome, leading to the two conditions often being confused for each other.