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Nine Signs You May Have A Gluten Allergy


Updated June 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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You Might Have A Gluten Allergy - What Now?
Nine Signs You May Have A Gluten Allergy
Getty Images/LWA

So you've scrolled through all nine signs of gluten allergy, and it rings true — really true. You're thinking: yup, this is me. This is definitely me. I must have a gluten allergy!

Not so fast. As I said before, all these signs and symptoms could be caused by something else. What you need right now is testing to see if you actually do suffer from one of the five forms of gluten allergy.

What's Involved in Gluten Allergy Testing?

First, you should see your doctor to talk about your symptoms and family history (celiac disease is definitely genetic). Your doctor may recommend you be tested for celiac disease, and to do that, you'll need to keep eating gluten until all your testing is complete.

If you have a rash that looks like these dermatitis herpetiformis photos, you may want to see a dermatologist as well — she can test the rash to see if it is really caused by gluten.

Diagnosing gluten ataxia is less straightforward, and some neurologists haven't accepted the condition. If you test negative for celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis but have symptoms of gluten ataxia, your physician may recommend you try the gluten-free diet to see if your symptoms improve.

Finally, there's no accepted diagnostic test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity (although researchers are working to develop one). So at the moment, it's a diagnosis of exclusion, which means your doctor will exclude other possible conditions (including celiac disease) before considering gluten sensitivity.

The ultimate test for all these types of gluten allergies will be your response to the gluten-free diet: if your symptoms clear up, that's a pretty good indicator that gluten is a problem for you.

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