Gluten intolerance is a condition, where people commonly feel digestive discomfort after consuming food or drink that contains gluten - a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. Most of our favorite products contain gluten, such as pizza, pasta, and cereal. Generally, people can handle gluten without issues, however, it causes various unpleasant symptoms to others. But how long after eating gluten do symptoms start?
Most people experience symptoms within an hour after eating or drinking something that contains gluten. Other people may experience a delayed gluten reaction, where the symptoms appear after 12 hours or more.
This article will give you tips on what to do if you get exposed to gluten that you cannot tolerate. You’ll also learn how to maintain a gluten-free diet and more.
Gluten intolerance is a well-researched medical condition, associated with a range of digestive symptoms after intake of food that contains gluten. A group of proteins, known as gluten, present in most grains like wheat, barley and rye, causes a reaction in folks, who cannot digest it properly.
Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include digestive distress (bloating, stomach ache, diarrhea or constipation), fatigue, headache and nausea. It is important to differentiate gluten intolerance from the more serious medical condition, called celiac disease. The latter is an automune hereditary illness, which causes a graver reaction to gluten in those diagnosed with the condition.
Related: What Does Gluten Intolerance Feel Like?
The best way to manage gluten intolerance, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is to follow a gluten-free diet. However, accidental exposure to gluten does occur, be it from eating gluten-free food that’s been cross-contaminated during the manufacturing process or unknowingly from homemade food. People develop different symptoms, depending on the level of exposure and their sensitivity.
The most important thing with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease is to know your body and how it reacts. That way, noting the slight changes after gluten exposure would be easier.
Here are some common gluten exposure symptoms you should look out for:
Remember that little exposure can lead to one or two symptoms that go away quickly. However, a high level of exposure can lead to most or all the symptoms and several days of suffering.
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There is no straightforward answer when it comes to how long after eating gluten symptoms may start. It may take as little as 1 hour to several hours, or even days, to feel unwell after eating gluten. Also, the degree of the reaction’s severity and the time frame of its occurrence will depend on the level of gluten exposure and on whether you’re a celiac disease sufferer or a nonceliac gluten-intolerant person.
Again, the key here is to recognize the symptoms as soon as, in order to take the appropriate remedial measures.
For most gluten-sensitive people, who have been following a strict-gluten free diet, there would be some very clear tell-tale signs if they get exposed accidentally to gluten. From abdominal pain, diarrhea and feeling bloated to skin issues, nausea or lethargy, you’ll definitely know when you’ve been glutened up.
The symptoms after eating gluten can last between a few hours to several days. The duration of symptoms depends on how sensitive you are to gluten and how much you were exposed to it. In other words, how long gluten stays in your system is strictly individual and varies by case.
Knowing which foods and drinks contain gluten is essential to prevent the risk of getting a gluten-intolerance reaction. Furthermore, always read the small print of product labels beacause some naturally gluten-free food items may still contain small amounts of gluten, due to cross-contamination.
If have nonceliac gluten intolerance and symptoms are not severe, you can take several steps to counteract the sdie effects of eating gluten.
Here’s what to do if you get glutened:
Having plenty of water can be very beneficial. It helps flush out the toxins faster, and it will keep you hydrated after any vomiting or diarrhea you may have experienced.
You can also drink other fluids, such as ginger & turmeric tea. Both plants are anti-inflammatory and can help with stomach cramps and bloating. Mint is another herb that has proven remedial properties against abdominal pain.
Probiotics can help increase good bacteria in your gut, which aids in digestion and reduces symptoms, such as bloating, gas, and constipation.
You can also consider taking activated charcoal. If you take it immediately upon exposure, it will bind with the gluten, preventing its absorption. This means the symptoms may be less severe.
Pickled vegetables are a great example of fermented food, which can neutralize gluten-intolerance symptoms. Fermented foods contain natural probiotics that promote good gut health.
You can feel exceptionally tired, as your body will use a lot of energy to detoxify itself. So, the best thing you can do is to rest and let your body recover without adding further stress.
You can also take digestive enzymes to help break down the gluten. Your digestive system needs some help because it is already overworked.
Lactose-rich foods can make your gluten exposure symptoms worse. So, don’t make the mistake of drinking milk if you feel nauseous after eating gluten.
You may be better off not eating anything at all for a while and allow your body to flush the gluten out of your system. Just drink water and other healthy fluids like tea or veggie broth.
Related: What Has Gluten in It? A Guide for a Gluten-Free Diet
Are you interested in starting a gluten-free diet? Here are some tips to help you out:
Sticking to a gluten-free diet requires good planning, patience and effort. You can talk to a dietician to guide you, so your diet contains all the nutrients your body needs.
A: Some people experience vomiting and diarrhea within 2–3 hours of eating gluten. Others may get these and other symptoms after a few days of eating gluten.
A: It takes between 1 and 12 hours to experience the effects of gluten. The time depends on how much gluten you have consumed, the level of your gluten intolerance, and other health conditions that you may have that affect digestion.
A: A gluten flare-up may make you feel bloated, nauseous, or gassy. However, the severity of these symptoms varies from one person to another.
A: A person is more likely to experience vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and skin rashes after eating gluten if they’ve been gluten-free for a long period of time.
A: Digestive symptoms are usually the first common side effects of gluten exposure in people, who are sensitive to gluten and cannot digest it properly. Skin symptoms, such as rash and itching, may appear faster in folks, who are allergic to wheat. And people, diagnosed with celiac disease may experience a wide range of graver symptoms, which affect more than one bodily system.
Related: What Liquors Are Gluten-free? A Detailed Guide
The symptoms of Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can be challenging, of course. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for gluten intolerance and the best thing you can do is to go on a gluten-free diet.
It may be hard at first but using the tips we shared above can make the transition easier. And if you accidentally consume gluten, drink a lot of fluids, avoid food, and rest until your body recovers.