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- What is a Grain Allergy?
- Symptoms of Grain Allergy
- Diagnosing Grain Allergies
- Help for Grain Allergies
What is a Grain Allergy?
Some people have allergies and sensitivities to wheat and other grains that contain gluten, a protein that affects elasticity during baking. The body produces antibodies in response to exposure to grain, with symptoms appearing at various times. Some allergic reactions occur almost immediately and others may not occur for several days after consumption. Grain allergies are sometimes difficult to pinpoint and diagnose due to the variety of symptoms and degrees of intolerance experienced per individual. A full-blown allergy often results in very severe, immediate responses. Other allergies or intolerance are less severe, but over time can also cause many health problems.
Symptoms of a Grain Allergy
Recognizing symptoms of grain allergies and intolerance is important in order to eliminate trigger foods that may lead to long-term health problems. Grain allergies can have a variety of symptoms including headaches, fatigue, lethargy, skin rashes, muscle and joint stiffness and pain. Many with grain allergies or intolerance report feeling foggy and have difficulty concentrating. Grain allergy and intolerance can also trigger asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Digestive symptoms occur most often and can include abdominal cramping, nausea, excess gas, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting.
Diagnosing Grain Allergies
A combination of tests may be performed to determine the presence of a grain or gluten allergy. Food diaries and a record of symptoms can help your doctor determine if an allergy is present. In addition, skin and blood tests may also be performed. If gluten intolerance is suspected, different tests may be ordered along with standard allergy tests to produce a final diagnosis.
Patients may be placed on an elimination diet for a few weeks to determine if a suspected food is the actual source of discomfort. After a few weeks, the food is reintroduced gradually. If there is a reaction, it indicates the presence of an allergy or intolerance.
Help for Grain Allergies
Avoiding trigger foods in the diet is the only method of treatment since there are no cures for food allergies and intolerance. Mild intolerance can sometimes be remedied through the use of enzymes, allowing for occassional exposure. Those with full blown allergies to grain, or who are diagnosed with Celiac disease must avoid contamination at all times.
Many food products contain hidden allergens so learning to read labels on packaged foods is vital. “Natural flavorings” are often contaminated with grain byproducts.