What is gluten intolerance?


Gluten intolerance, also known as gluten sensitivity, is a condition characterized by an adverse reaction to gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Gluten intolerance can manifest in various ways, ranging from mild discomfort to severe symptoms. In more severe cases, it can lead to a condition called celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. As someone who has extensive knowledge and experience in gluten intolerance and celiac disorder, I can provide you with valuable advice and suggestions to navigate this dietary challenge as we answer the question “what is gluten intolerance?”


Gluten intolerance can cause a wide range of symptoms, and it’s important to be aware of the common indicators. These symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and skin problems. It is crucial to note that these symptoms can also be associated with other digestive disorders. Therefore, proper diagnosis and differentiation are vital to address the underlying condition accurately.

Differentiating between gluten intolerance and celiac disease can be confusing. While gluten intolerance refers to an adverse reaction to gluten, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption. Celiac disease can cause more severe and long-lasting damage to the small intestine, requiring lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.


The exact causes of gluten intolerance are still under study. However, research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. People with a family history of gluten intolerance or celiac disease have a higher risk of developing the condition. Environmental triggers, such as viral infections, childbirth, or stressful events, may also contribute to the onset of gluten intolerance in genetically susceptible individuals.


If you suspect gluten intolerance, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. Medical tests, such as blood tests and intestinal biopsies, can help identify gluten intolerance or celiac disease. These tests evaluate specific antibodies and damage to the intestinal lining, providing valuable information for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Differentiating between gluten intolerance and celiac disease is particularly important since celiac disease requires stricter adherence to a gluten-free diet and closer monitoring of potential complications.


The primary treatment for gluten intolerance and celiac disease is adopting a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding all sources of gluten, including wheat, barley, rye, and other grains that contain gluten. It is crucial to read labels carefully, as gluten can hide in various food products and even in non-food items such as medications and cosmetics.

In some cases, individuals with gluten intolerance may benefit from additional supplements or medications to address specific deficiencies or manage symptoms. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian specialized in celiac disease and gluten intolerance to ensure a personalized and safe approach.

Lifestyle Changes

Managing gluten intolerance requires certain adjustments in daily life. When dining out, it’s important to communicate your dietary needs to the staff and inquire about gluten-free options. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free menus or can accommodate specific dietary requirements. Additionally, when traveling, it’s advisable to plan ahead and research gluten-free options in the destination to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Joining support groups or connecting with online communities of individuals with gluten intolerance can provide a wealth of information, tips, and emotional support. These resources can help navigate challenges, share recipes, and exchange experiences with like-minded individuals who understand the unique demands of living gluten-free.


Gluten intolerance is often subject to misconceptions and misinformation. One common misconception is that adopting a gluten-free diet is beneficial for everyone. While it may be necessary for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it is not a proven strategy for weight loss or overall health improvement in individuals without these conditions. It’s important to understand that gluten-free trends should not be equated with a healthier lifestyle for those without gluten-related disorders.

Impact on Health

Untreated gluten intolerance can have long-term consequences. Continued consumption of gluten by individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease can lead to ongoing damage to the intestinal lining, malabsorption of nutrients, and nutrient deficiencies. Moreover, untreated celiac disease has been associated with an increased risk of other autoimmune conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders, and certain gastrointestinal cancers. Proper management and adherence to a gluten-free diet are crucial to mitigating these risks.


In conclusion, gluten intolerance is a condition characterized by an adverse reaction to gluten, with varying degrees of severity. It is essential to recognize the symptoms, seek proper diagnosis, and adopt a gluten-free lifestyle under the guidance of healthcare professionals. By making necessary dietary adjustments, seeking support, and staying informed, individuals with gluten intolerance can lead fulfilling lives while managing their condition effectively.


FAQ 1: Can children develop gluten intolerance?
Yes, children can develop gluten intolerance. It is important to monitor their symptoms and consult a pediatrician if there are concerns about gluten-related issues. Early diagnosis and proper management are crucial for their well-being and growth.

FAQ 2: Are oats safe for individuals with gluten intolerance?
While oats themselves are naturally gluten-free, they can often be contaminated with gluten during processing. It is advisable to choose certified gluten-free oats or oat products to ensure safety. Some individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease may still be sensitive to avenin, a protein found in oats, and may need to avoid oats altogether.

FAQ 3: Can gluten intolerance be outgrown?
Gluten intolerance is typically a lifelong condition. Unlike certain food allergies, gluten intolerance does not tend to be outgrown. It is important to maintain a gluten-free diet unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.

FAQ 4: Is a gluten-free diet beneficial for weight loss?
A gluten-free diet is not specifically designed for weight loss. While some individuals may experience weight loss when adopting a gluten-free diet due to healthier food choices and reduced consumption of processed foods, weight loss cannot be guaranteed for everyone. Weight management should be approached holistically, considering various factors such as overall dietary patterns, physical activity, and individual needs.

FAQ 5: Can gluten intolerance lead to infertility?
Gluten intolerance itself does not directly cause infertility. However, undiagnosed or untreated celiac disease, which often accompanies gluten intolerance, may lead to fertility problems. Proper management of celiac disease through a gluten-free diet can potentially improve fertility outcomes for affected individuals. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance in such cases.

Avatar photo

Cat Hocking

When I discovered that I was gluten intolerant and likely Coaeliac it was a shock and certainly a struggle to find things that I could eat. After a lot of research I amassed lots of resources and strategies that I share with you now in The Gluten Free Resource Hub. You can have a nutritious and enjoyable diet even if you can't tolerate gluten.

More to Explore