ZocdocAnswersIs a wheat allergy the same thing as a gluten allergy?

Question

Is a wheat allergy the same thing as a gluten allergy?

My doctor did a blood test and told me that my stomach problems are due to a wheat allergy. Is this the same thing as a gluten allergy or are they two different things? I don?t know what foods to avoid after looking it up on the internet because different websites say different things.

Answer

This is a somewhat confusing issue. Wheat products can cause two separate conditions. The first of these is straight forward food allergies, which may be characterized by rash, itching, abdominal pain, or in severe cases trouble breathing. The treatment for wheat food allergies is simply avoidance of products containing wheat and anti allergy medications and seeing your doctor if you are accidentally exposed to wheat. Food allergies like this are more common in children but can also occur in adults. The more common kind of problem with wheat that adults have is celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition in which the body reacts to wheat proteins, known as gluten, in the process causing damage to the lining of the small intestine. This typically causes abdominal pain and weight loss chronically. Celiac disease is commonly diagnosed by simple blood tests, and so I suspect that this is what your doctor thinks you have, although you will need to clarify to make sure. If you do have celiac disease, you will need to avoid ingesting gluten in order to remain symptom free. Setting up an appointment with a nutritionist is very helpful, as they will be able to help you design your gluten free diet.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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