Some of the other symptoms that improved or even cleared up for
us after going gluten free are detailed below.
As one of our symptoms of gluten intolerance my husband and I
both experienced vision changes. In his case, he reached a
point where he went to a neurologist, as his left eye was
focusing at changing levels from day to day. It gave him
headaches and made it hard to drive. This completely resolved
after a few months on the gluten free diet, so it was certainly
caused by gluten intolerance.
In my case, I reached a point where I could not read labels on
prescription bottles or food packages with my glasses. I had
to get bifocals. I know that this is considered a normal part
of aging. The odd thing is that after about 1 1/2 years on
the gluten free diet, I can now read labels again without
any glasses at all. My eyes can focus on close objects now
without the bifocals just as they did 10 years ago. I am
still nearsighted though, and need glasses for distance
vision. That part did not improve. Still, I consider that to
be evidence of one of many symptoms of gluten intolerance that
improved on the diet.
Thyroid, Gallbladder, and Endometriosis
It is common for people with celiac disease and symptoms of
gluten intolerance to have thyroid problems. While an
autoimmune problem can cause antibodies to attack the thyroid,
many others simply have low thyroid function. This could be
related to many things, including nutritional deficiencies,
lack of enzymes, or inability to convert cholesterol to
The risk of developing an autoimmune thyroid disease is 3x
that of the general population for those with celiac disease.
It is the second most prevalent autoimmune disease associated
with celiac disease.
In my case I have had low thyroid for a long time. I also had
gallbladder problems where there were no stones, but the
gallbladder had to be removed because it was not emptying.
Both my parents and my sister also had to have their
gallbladders removed. My brother was having trouble with his
as well, but was unable to have it removed because of another
medical issue. For some reason, celiac disease appears to
interfere with the production of the hormone that causes the
gallbladder to contract and expel bile. I've read many accounts
of this among other celiacs.
Current research is pointing to wheat as a contributing factor
in endometriosis. It is fairly common among celiacs to have
endometriosis. It makes sense if gluten is keeping the immune
system busy, and causing it not to be as effective as it
should, that it would allow enodmetriosis to flourish. The
flow that backs up during severe cramps is normally cleared
away by the immune system. The immune system not functioning
properly would allow it to accumulate and cause the problems
There has been some research that wheat worsens endometriosis.
There is a diet for endometriosis that advocates removing
wheat from the diet, along with several other foods that
seem to worsen the symptoms.
I have an article listed on the next page that also
gives some information on gluten and endometriosis under
the infertility section.
Stomach and Intestinal Symptoms
My husband used to live on Rolaids. He always had an acid
stomach, and frequently woke up with esophogeal reflux. This
has completely resolved on the gluten free diet.
I used to get hiccups when I ate bread. It sounds funny, but
after they wouldn't go away for several hours, it really
wasn't funny. It didn't happen every time of course, but
usually two or three times a week. They could last for up to
four hours! I sometimes had acid reflux too, but not regularly
like my husband.
Not everyone will react as quicky to gluten as I do. You might
have symptoms that show up the next day, or even 3 days later.
If you can't pinpoint it, keep a food journal for a few weeks
and see if there are repeat instances. These kinds of
gluten intolerance symptoms have resolved for us on the diet.
I still get hiccups, maybe twice a year. And they last for
Weight Gain and Weight Loss
While the standard description of celiac disease discusses
weight loss, many people with gluten intolerance symptoms and
even celiac disease actually gain weight. It has been
shown that about 1/3 are overweight, and many are actually
obese. This makes it hard to get a doctor to listen about
symptoms of gluten intolerance because most of them still think
in terms of the textbook description they learned in medical
It is usually at the point where they are very ill, have
no villi left, and their bodies are beginning to fail that
people have dramatic weight loss and become so weak that they
are bedridden. Earlier in the process, many are actually
overweight. So this can be one of the gluten intolerance
symptoms as well, although you won't see it mentioned much.
I am one of the overweight ones. I've never been able to lose
more than 7 or 8 pounds on any diet, no matter how strict I
was, and even with exercise.
My husband, my mother in law, and I all went on a diet one
time. It was called the metabolism diet. It required 20
minutes of excercise twice a day.
I was faithful to the diet, did the excercise, and lost 2
pounds. My husband lost 12. My 60 year old mother in law
lost 10, and she and my husband did not even do the
exercises. This was in 3 months on the diet. I did lose
8 pounds on the Atkins diet...probably because I wasn't having
the wheat. But it came off in the first two weeks, I never lost
any more even after months on the diet, and after going off it
came back on within 5 days.
So if you are not thin, haven't had dramatic weight loss, or
can't lose weight that does not mean you aren't showing
symptoms of gluten intolerance. You are likely to be earlier in
the process, and not have complete villi destruction if you
have celiac disease.
Gluten disrupts so many body functions, and when you add in the
vitamin and mineral deficiencies, it is quite possible that
your body thinks you are starving, and goes into hibernation
mode. That lowers the metabolism, and makes you gain weight.