Jul 11 2017

No, a Gluten Allergy Isn’t All in Your Head

Published by at 8:30 am under Gluten Free,Health

Woman with headache, gluten allergy

You aren’t crazy or making it up! A gluten allergy is a real thing, and if you think you have one, check with your doctor. Photo via VisualHunt

“It’s all in your head.”

If you suffer from gluten intolerance, a gluten allergy, or celiac disease, I just know you’ve heard those words more times than you can count. For a certain sub-set of people, if you aren’t gushing blood or a piece of bone isn’t sticking out of your skin, then any pain or discomfort you feel is just a desperate cry for attention. Too bad they can’t feel your pounding headache, the way your joints feel like they rusted together, or know about the apocalypse that keeps happening in the bathroom.

Well, we are here to tell you that, “No, your gluten allergy is not in your head!” That goes for gluten intolerance and celiac disease as well. I’m just writing this particular article on gluten allergies, because a friend of mine dismissed the notion that gluten allergies exist the other day. You bet I set him right, and here’s how you can set all those doubters and haters in your life right, too!

A Quick Recap on Allergies

What exactly are allergies? There are tons of them out in the world. People are allergic to pollen, dogs, latex, mold, and even certain foods. (Funny how no one seems to doubt the person jabbing an EpiPen into their neck of faking a peanut allergy.)

Allergies are extremely common, and they happen when the body’s immune system mistakes something harmless (like grass, your dog’s saliva, or gluten) for an enemy. When the body comes in contact with an allergen, the immune system goes into overdrive. That can result in watery eyes, sneezing, hives, or even a throat that swells up.

Gluten Allergies

No one doubts that a person can be allergic to peanuts, lactose, eggs, or soy, but for some reason gluten doesn’t get the same respect. Yet, according to VeryWell.com, there are actually five different types of gluten allergies.

In many ways, a gluten allergy mimics symptoms of celiac disease but usually to a lesser degree. When a person with the allergy consumes gluten or gliadin (which helps form the gluten protein), the immune system goes berserk, attacking the small intestine. This can lead to all the delightful symptoms we gluten-allergic enjoy so much, like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, general fatigue, brain fog, depression, headaches, and even dandruff (as if all the proceeding symptoms weren’t humiliating enough).

Gluten allergies are hard to diagnose, especially because the symptoms can vary and because…well, sometimes a headache is just a headache. Still, that’s no reason to dismiss gluten allergies altogether. We may not be gushing blood out of our eyeballs, but have you ever spent two days feeling as bloated as water balloon? That’s suffering, right there.

So, here’s what you tell your skeptical friends: Have a little respect for the gluten allergy sufferer!

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