Some people cannot tolerate wheat products which come in the form of bread, pasta and cereals. They complain of bloating, diarrhoea, gas formation, fatigue, anxiety, confusion and so on. The culprit is the gluten in these foods.
Gluten is a protein. It is found in barley, wheat and rye. Usually, wheat is used in the preparation of bread, pasta, cereals. Barley is commonly found in beer and malt and grain is used to make rye bread. Gluten gives the elasticity and the baking qualities to wheat. It makes wheat absorb water and still remain soft and malleable for the preparation of bread, muffins and most of the bakery items. The white gluten in the bakery products sticks to the intestinal walls and is not easy to digest hence.
Consuming these over few years can create havoc with the immune system inducing inflammation to the intestinal lining. This causes malabsorption of nutrients. Gluten intolerance is a wheat-related disorder.
Symptoms of the allergy can begin within few minutes to few hours of consuming wheat products. The person may also complain of a headache, irritation in the throat, nasal congestion and difficulty in breathing. Sometimes the person can have constipation, stomach ache and joint pains too. Note if there is any gas formation in the stomach and foul smelling stools. These are all tell-tale signs of gluten allergy.
It is imperative not to self-medicate for any allergic reaction. Only after seeing an allergist or a gastroenterologist and the symptoms explained, tests can be run, and your family history and medical history discussed. The doctor will check for the symptoms that you are facing against known allergic reactions and first rules out any serious complications. If the diagnosis is an allergy to gluten, suitable medications, treatment and elimination diet is advised. There can be several tests conducted - like a blood test or a skin prick test to check for the presence of immunoglobulin antibodies. They will give out results in the presence of wheat in your body. Hence the doctor will advise you to take wheat products and then come for the tests.
When the body's immune system has become sensitive or intolerant to that particular food and over reacts throwing out the above symptoms, and if there is a family history of allergies, you are more prone to get the same allergy or have allergic reactions. Sometimes the allergy would be severe and life threatening too. Though these allergic reactions are common in children, they outgrow the allergy after few years of growing up. The body's immune system becomes active over the years, with good nutrients, healthy living and physical activities like sports.
There can be cases of severe vomiting, diarrhoea which can restrict breathing along with joint pain, inflammation and swelling which are the common causes of this type of allergy. The severity of these symptoms should be attended to by a doctor immediately. It is a medical emergency. It is important to get medical advice for these symptoms without ignoring for a long time, since these may lead to other potential complications later in life.
People with any food allergy must make lots of changes in their diet. Care should be taken while eating any food. Avoiding wheat ingredients in your food can bring the reactions under control. Foods to avoid would be bread, especially white bread, pasta, biscuits, crackers and bakery stuff prepared with wheat. Shopping should exclude all wheat based products and include grains like corn, rice, oats in small quantity and so on. Care should also be taken to increase the daily water intake to bring down the allergic reactions.