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Does gluten allergy exist?

Does gluten allergy exist?

English Transcript

Allergist David R. Stukus, MD: We always get questions about gluten allergy and other food allergies, and I always start with some basic definitions. If you’re worried about having a food allergy, whether it’s gluten or something else, you really should have reproducible symptoms every single time you eat the food.

Now gluten is present in wheat products, and people really react to the wheat protein and not gluten, so if you have concerns you have a gluten allergy, you should look for things like big red itchy hives, swelling, maybe upset stomach, vomiting, or what we call anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction. This should happen every time you eat the food, generally within an hour or two. So if you’re eating foods that have gluten not having those symptoms, it’s very unlikely that you’re allergic.

Other questions we get are in regards to things like intolerances or sensitivities. That’s very different than having an allergy. That means you have difficulty digesting these foods, and you can have symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhea, upset stomach.

Bottom line, if you have concerns about a gluten allergy, a food allergy or intolerance, please see a board-certified allergist so they can discuss your history and any testing that may be helpful and come up a good plan.

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