Wheat and other cereal grains such as rye and barley contain a protein called gluten. The gluten protein may cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to the protein or those suffering from Celiac disease, a condition in which exposure to gluten damages the intestines. Let’s have a closer look at what are the symptoms of wheat allergy and how to treat it.
Allergens in wheat
You can have an allergy to wheat without having celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. In such cases, proteins other than gluten may trigger allergic reactions as well. All three conditions may result in similar allergic reactions.
Wheat allergic reactions are rarely immediately life threatening; those sensitive to gluten rarely experience anaphylactic shock or severe bronchial inflammation. An allergy to wheat or other grains may, however, garner a more severe reaction.
Anaphylactic reactions include swelling of the throat resulting in labored breathing, a bluish tint to the skin, and a weak pulse. Seek medical attention immediately should you suffer any of these reactions.
Symptoms of allergic reaction to wheat
Symptoms of allergic reactions to wheat include hives and/or eczema, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, shallow breathing, and fatigue. These same symptoms may also indicate exposure to pollens, excessive dust, or other respiratory irritants.
If stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and vomiting accompany the other symptoms, the chances of the cause being an allergic reaction to wheat or other cereal grains increase. The presence of wheat and cereal grain proteins causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal track and the inflammation causes the digestive discomforts.
In the case of Celiac disease, the presence of gluten in the digestive tract flattens the villi lining of the small intestines, resulting in malabsorption. Nutrients are not properly absorbed for use by the body’s systems. Some suffering from undiagnosed Celiac disease may exhibit signs of malnourishment and brain fog.
Any combination of allergic reactions may indicate an allergy to wheat, a gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, but only medical testing can ascertain your exact condition.
How to treat wheat allergy
For all three conditions, a wheat-free, grain free diet is recommended. If the allergen is not present in the body, the body is symptom free, and so free of allergic reaction. The diet must then eliminate all flours made from cereal grains as well as any foods that use wheat based additives. A gluten free diet is also recommended.
Which flours are gluten free
Flours that may be safe for those with wheat allergies include rice flour, corn flour, potato flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour (use certified gluten-free flour), almond flour, bean flour, sorghum flour, coconut flour, and soy flour. The proteins in these types of flour differ in chemical make-up than cereal grains and do not trigger allergic responses when ingested.
Soy flour, corn flour, and corn meal (as well as cornstarch) are thought to cause allergic reactions in some with grain allergies, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease. Testing for sensitivities to these flours may be included when testing for wheat allergies.
If you suspect you suffer from a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, or from celiac disease, consult a medical professional. The information here is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice.
Thanks for the great post! I’m starting to look into wheat allergies for me. What a daunting task.