Wheat Allergy Symptoms and Reactions

Is wheat allergy the same thing as celiac disease? Or, gluten allergy? The answer is no. The mechanism of the symptoms in these conditions differs and so does the treatment. People suffering from celiac disease are normally not intolerant to wheat itself, but to gluten (a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye).

Idaho Wheat
Idaho Wheat | Source

Allergic To Wheat

Are you allergic to wheat? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you must be wondering about wheat allergy symptoms and reactions. Have you noticed digestion problems after eating wheat-based foods? Do you sneeze, wheeze or experience unusual skin conditions, like for example, rash and itchiness? The list of wheat allergy symptoms is a long one so you may want to get acquainted with all of them.

Common Wheat Allergy Symptoms

Before you start organizing your life based on new specialized diets and avoiding wheat allergy foods, you must be sure your disease is properly diagnosed. Before you pay a visit to your doctor, there are things to consider; think about whether you experience these wheat allergy symptoms:

Respiratory system wheat allergy symptoms

  • Asthma

Astma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by the following symptoms: wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

  • Wheeze occurrence

A wheeze is a continuous, coarse, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing.

Digestion wheat allergy symptoms

  • Intestinal bloating or cramping

Bloating is any abnormal general swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area characterized by the feeling of full and tight abdomen, abdominal pain and cramps.

  • Stomach discomfort

Stomach ache or discomfort is a symptom occurring as a result of many diseases. The common characteristic is abdominal pain.

  • Vomiting

Vomiting as a wheat allergy symptom occurs in severe wheat allergy conditions. It is a specific response to diseases such as gastritis, food allergies and intolerances.

  • Swelling in the face or mouth

Also known as angiodema, the swelling in the face or mouth is partly similar to urticaria reactions. Cases where angioedema progresses rapidly should be treated as a medical emergency, otherwise it may lead to anaphylactic shock which can be a deadly reaction.

  • Swollen-feeling or itchy tongue

The tongue can swell for a variety of reasons, but most commonly due to medications and allergies. The swollen feeling or itchy tongue can occur in the deeper layers of the skin (angioedema), unlike the case of urticaria (hives) occurring in the upper dermis. In food allergies, it is more common to have a swollen throat or lips than a swollen tongue.

Skin condition wheat allergy symptoms:

  • Itching

Itching is a sensation characterized by the desire or reflex to scratch. It usually originates in the peripheral nervous system or in the central nervous system, which is a common symptom in most food allergies and intolerances.

  • Eczema or atopic dermatitis

In general, the term eczema is applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness of skin and recurring itchy skin rashes characterized by: redness, swelling, crusting, flaking or peeling, blistering (occurrence of bubbles of fluid under the skin), cracking, oozing, even bleeding. Atopic dermatitis is the most common skin condition, and most difficult to treat. In some countries, dermatitis and eczema are synounymous terms, but in others, dermatitis refers to acute condition and eczema to chronic condition.

  • Hives (urticaria)

Urticaria is a kind of skin rash characterized by pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Although there are many non-allergic causes, it is often caused by allergic reactions. As the result of an allergic trigger, acute urticaria usually lasts about 6 weeks. Chronic urticaria that lasts longer than six weeks is rarely caused by food allergies, but it is still possible (as in my case).

Other wheat allergy symptoms:

  • Itchy eyes

Cases of itchy eyes are frequently related to allergic reactions including systemic allergies, such as food allergies. Allergies causing eyes to itch are overreactions to foreign substances by the body's immune system. If you are suffering from itchy eyes, don’t rub your eyes because this aggravates the itching condition. Instead, you should apply cool compresses to the eyelids.

  • Headaches

There are three types of headaches that can occur as symptoms of allergic diseases: the so called sinus headaches (facial pain), migraines and cluster headaches.

Sinus headaches or facial pain occur when the sinuses are swollen and their openings into the nasal passages are obstructed. This stops normal drainage and causes pressure. The pain is usually localized over the affected sinus, causing facial pain rather than a typical headache. If you have other upper airway symptoms such as the itching, sneezing and runny nose typical of seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever), the allergy might play a role in your sinus headaches or facial pain.

Migraine headaches vary from very intense and disabling to mild. They are throbbing, sometimes one-sided headaches often aggravated by sunlight. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea.

Cluster headaches are torturous one-sided headachesof extreme intensity. The pain is very sharp, usually causing pain around the eye area and within the back of the eye. Medical experts have reported that cluster headaches may be the most painful condition known to medical science. The patients reported that the pain headaches is considerably greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraines, and females have reported that the pain is more severe than in childbirth.

* * *

Allergies and Headaches: Allergist Dr. Warner Carr

Other wheat allergy symptoms may include inflamed sores, racing heartbeat sensations, runny nose, watery eyes, and sore throat or a felling of the throat swelling.

Just like in any allergy, if wheat allergy is left untreated, extreme wheat allergy reactions may occur, such as: depression, anxiety, reduced life energy, and anaphylactic shock (which can be seriously life threatening).

What Causes Wheat Allergy?

Like all allergies, wheat allergy is the result of a histamine response. It involves IgE and mast cell response. What’s it all about is that white blood cells known as basophils and mast cells over-react to Immunoglobulin E.

It’s important to know that this type of allergy does not indicate celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Although it’s a food allergy, wheat allergy is more likely to be associated to the type of allergies, such as hay fever or allergy to cats or dogs. If you eat wheat and suffer from wheat allergy symptoms listed above, don’t jump to conclusions and think you are gluten intolerant or celiac.

Celiac disease symptoms and gluten intolerance are caused by autoimmune diseases and they are basically different than an allergy in the traditional sense. On the other hand, wheat allergy is a relatively simple food allergy. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a doctor, get a diagnosis and organize your life around special diets to beat wheat allergy symptoms.

More by this Author

Comments 5 comments

Emily Sparks 4 years ago

Thankyou for writing this hub in answer to my question. It was very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to help me:)

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

@Emily Sparks: You're welcome, Emily. I'm allergic to gluten, milk proteins and nuts.Your question wasn't just an ordinary question; I thought it deserved special attention. I may also write more about these topics.

PWalker281 4 years ago

I didn't realize wheat caused so many allergic reactions. Well, I know from experience that it can cause bloating cramping, and gas, especially pasta which I love.

Interesting that you mention allergies to cats and dogs. I definitely had them when I had cats. And more recently, I've had TERRIBLE allergic reactions, I think, because there is mold in the environment. But when I clean up my diet, eating more alkaline foods (e.g., raw fruits, veggies, green tea), I don't suffer at all. And if I mess up and eat something I shouldn't, I know that the allergic reaction will pass in 24 hours, the time it takes the food to move through my system. If I do eat wheat products, they have to be whole wheat and unleaven. It's the yeast in bread (and a whole lot of other products) that I'm the most allergic too.

Milk and peanuts are two other things I can't eat. Hope you write more on this subject. Great information! Rated up and useful!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is an interesting subject. It seems more people than ever are suffering from allergies. I know that I quite often have itchy eyes, etc. I should probably try an elimination diet to see if certain foods are triggers outside of the environmental factors like grasses, tree pollen, etc. Up and useful votes.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 3 years ago Author

Itchy eyes may be a sign of an allergy. It would be the best if you could run some medical tests to determine whether this is your case. It's no wonder that more and more people have allergies today; the pollution and genetically modified food certainly didn't make us healthier.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article