Gluten Intolerance Symptoms Checklist: A Quick Guide

The biggest problem with gluten is that it can trigger a wide range of symptoms that are NOT just related to gut health.

Our gluten intolerance checklist will help you identify a potential gluten sensitivity.

Key Takeaways on Recognizing Gluten Intolerance:

  • Gluten intolerance can manifest in celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy. Each has different mechanisms, symptoms and testing.
  • Common symptom checklist: diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, nausea, fatigue, headache, brain fog, aches, rash.
  • Celiac disease primarily affects the digestive system while gluten sensitivity causes more systemic symptoms.
  • Blood testing and intestinal biopsy diagnose celiac disease; elimination diet helps identify non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
  • Avoiding gluten through a strict gluten-free diet is the main treatment for gluten intolerance.

Your Quick Gluten Intolerance Checklist

If you are suffering with gut symptoms such as bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and flatulence it can indicate a problem with gluten. But did you know you can also experience a host of other non-specific symptoms?

Some of the symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity are not always clearly distinguishable. Here are some common non-specific symptoms associated with gluten exposure:

  • ‘Wheat belly’ weight gain around the waist.
  • Weight loss due to malnutrition.
  • Fatigue and yawning soon after eating.
  • Sugar cravings.
  • Brain fog, poor memory and concentration.
  • Weak and brittle nails.
  • Poor fat digestion, including fat in the stools.
  • Fibromyalgia-like joint or muscle pain.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Dermatitis or skin rashes.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Iron anemia.
  • Osteoporosis.

Which Foods Contain Gluten?

To help pinpoint if gluten may be the trigger, it helps to know which foods contain this problematic protein:

  • Bread, bagels, muffins, crackers made with wheat flour
  • Pasta, cereal, baked goods using wheat, barley or rye
  • Beer and malt beverages
  • Flavored chips, pretzels, snack foods with wheat-based ingredients
  • Soy sauce, salad dressings, seasonings containing wheat or malt
  • Some meat substitutes and vegetarian meat products
  • Certain candies, lip balms and play dough using gluten

Reading ingredient labels is key, as gluten can hide in many products under names like malt, semolina, farro, einkorn and more. Cross-contamination during production can also introduce small amounts of gluten into seemingly gluten-free foods.

Getting Tested for Gluten Intolerance

If eliminating gluten improves your symptoms, your doctor can order blood tests to help confirm a diagnosis:

  • Celiac disease – Blood tests check for high levels of antibodies like tTG-IgA and total IgA. A intestinal biopsy may also be done to check for damage.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – There is no specific test, but celiac testing can help rule it out. An elimination diet removing gluten, followed by a supervised gluten challenge can gauge reaction.
  • Wheat allergy – Allergy skin or blood tests check for an wheat-specific IgE-mediated response.

Without testing, it can be difficult to distinguish between celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy based on symptoms alone. Proper testing provides clarity on how your body reacts to gluten.

What is the Treatment for Gluten Intolerance?

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy, strictly adhering to a gluten-free diet is the most effective treatment. This requires vigilance reading food labels and avoiding cross-contamination when cooking and dining out. With time and a strict gluten-free diet, symptoms and intestinal damage from gluten exposure can be reversed.

A Gluten Free Diet For Thyroid Health

Studies suggest a gluten-free diet can yield clinical results for those with a diagnosed thyroid disorder, especially for those with an autoimmune thyroid disorder.

Be aware, you have to be 100% strict to see the results of going gluten-free. There are definitely no cheat days allowed!

You see even trace amounts of gluten can trigger a gut-immune reaction and if this happens you are sent back to square one.

Also, did you know studies show it takes at least SIX weeks for the body to stop reacting to gluten? For this reason I recommend you commit to a gluten free diet for at least six weeks to see if this approach is right for you.


Q: What is celiac disease?

A: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Q: What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

A: Common symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, fatigue, and skin rash when people with the disease eat gluten. People with celiac disease have a different health problem than people with gluten intolerance. Although they are both gluten intolerant to foods that contain gluten, Celiac disease is a much more serious condition that requires medical intervention and monitoring.

Q: What is gluten intolerance?

A: Gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is a condition in which individuals experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease when consuming gluten-containing foods, but without the same immune response and intestinal damage.

Q: What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?

A: Symptoms of gluten intolerance may include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, headache, joint pain, and fatigue.

Q: How is celiac disease diagnosed?

A: Celiac disease is diagnosed through blood tests to measure specific antibodies and a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm the presence of damage caused by gluten.

Q: How is gluten intolerance diagnosed?

A: Gluten intolerance is typically diagnosed by ruling out other conditions and observing symptom improvement when following a gluten-free diet.

Q: Can wheat allergy cause similar symptoms to gluten intolerance?

A: Yes, wheat allergy can cause similar symptoms to gluten intolerance, such as digestive symptoms, skin rash, and respiratory issues, but it is a different condition and involves a specific allergic reaction to wheat.

Q: Is celiac disease common in people?

A: Celiac disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting approximately 1% of the population.

Q: Can adults develop celiac disease or is it only found in children?

A: Celiac disease can develop at any age, and while it is more commonly diagnosed in childhood, it can also be diagnosed in adults.

Q: What is the treatment for gluten intolerance and celiac disease?

A: The main treatment for both gluten intolerance and celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet, avoiding all sources of gluten in foods and drinks.


In conclusion, gluten intolerance can manifest in various forms and affect individuals of different ages. Both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can cause a wide range of symptoms that are not exclusively related to gut health. Children and adults can develop celiac disease, while individuals with gluten sensitivity may experience similar symptoms but without the same immune response and intestinal damage.

The most effective treatment for both conditions is adhering to a strict gluten-free diet, eliminating all sources of gluten from the diet. Becoming informed about common foods and drinks that contain gluten is crucial for managing symptoms and preventing further complications. It is important to note that even trace amounts of gluten can trigger a gut-immune reaction, so strict adherence to a gluten-free lifestyle is necessary.

Symptoms associated with gluten intolerance can vary widely and may include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, headache, joint pain, fatigue, and weight changes. These symptoms can improve when gluten is eliminated from the diet, but it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional and get tested for celiac disease to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

While the exact causes of gluten intolerance are not fully understood, research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Antibodies related to gluten intolerance and the presence of certain antibodies in gluten-containing foods can contribute to symptoms and inflammation. However, the link between gluten and these symptoms is still an area of ongoing study.

In conclusion, identifying and addressing gluten intolerance is crucial for managing symptoms and maintaining overall health. By removing gluten from the diet and being vigilant about potential sources of gluten, individuals can experience improvement in their quality of life. If you suspect gluten intolerance, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional and undergo appropriate testing to obtain an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

> > You can learn more here: Could A Gluten Free Diet Help Heal Your Thyroid Health?


Knezevic J, Starchl C, Tmava Berisha A, Amrein K. Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function? Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1769. Published 2020 Jun 12.

Niland B, Cash BD. Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non-Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2018;14(2):82-91.

Roszkowska A, Pawlicka M, Mroczek A, Bałabuszek K, Nieradko-Iwanicka B. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: A Review. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(6):222. Published 2019 May 28.

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