Wheat Allergy

Wheat Allergy Symptoms 

Wheat allergy can easily be confused with

  • Celiac disease
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity 

People suffering from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity have problems with grains – as do people who are allergic to wheat.   But it is important to know which you have particularly because those with celiac disease must watch their diet carefully and they have to be watched for other problems as well.  So testing should be done before a gluten or wheat free diet is started.  If someone starts a gluten or wheat free diet before they are tested, making the right diagnosis can be harder.

True Wheat Allergy

People with wheat allergy will usually have

  • A rash (red, hive-like)
  • Itching
  • Abdominal discomfort (their stomach hurts)
  • Positive skin or blood tests

The symptoms usually develop within a few minutes or an hour after eating even a small amount of wheat.  If they are skin tested, they will have a redness and swelling where the wheat was placed.  The amount of swelling and redness may not show how severe their reaction will be when they eat wheat.  Blood tests can be done too, but the only ones most allergists trust are the IgE blood tests that link closely to skin reactions.  Even if one of these tests are positive, most allergists will still want their patients to try a small amount of wheat (a few crackers perhaps) to make sure that the tests are meaningful.

The patient with celiac disease needs to be devoted to their gluten free diet to prevent life-long consequences, while the patient with wheat allergy only needs to focus on eliminating wheat.  However, those with severe wheat allergy may need to carry an Epi-pen with them.  Someone with wheat allergy may develop other allergies, so it is important to watch for problems with other foods and to return to their allergist if symptoms develop.