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"Why do I get headaches and stomach aches after ingesting gluten products even if I'm not celiac?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get headaches and stomach aches after ingesting gluten products even if I'm not celiac?


I am a 29 year old woman who has experienced headaches and stomach aches after eating gluten products. Two years ago, I had a celiac panel done and was deemed to not have the illness. If I don't have any problem with gluten, why am I feeling ill within 30-60 minutes after ingesting it. Could it be something different? I have kept food logs for months and this is the only common factor I see amongst the times I get sick.


It is still possible that you have celiac disease, but it is quite unlikely. The celiac panel's are close to 99% accurate. The only test that is 100% sensitive is the small intestine biopsy which must be done by endoscopy. This is something you could consider having done, however, you must remain on a normal diet (with gluten), to be sure that the biopsy is accurate. A much more likely scenario is that you have irritable bowel syndrome. This is a very common syndrome where the bowel's natural function produces uncomfortable abdominal pain and bloating along with constipation and sometimes diarrhea. Patients with IBS (that don't have celiac disease) do not have a gluten allergy and biopsies of the small bowel come back normal. For what ever reason, some IBS patients report improvement in the symptoms with the gluten free diet. It is not clear why this is, but it likely has less to do with gluten, and more to do with the types of food that you need to eat on a gluten free diet. If it makes you feel better, there is nothing wrong with it. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The question to ask is if endoscopy with small bowel biopsy would be helpful and if not, what additional diagnostics would need to be done to find out what it is wrong. Good luck.

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