How quickly after ingesting gluten can a reaction occur?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: How quickly after ingesting gluten can a reaction occur? I've always had the quick watery stool elimination reaction - however now I am very aware that it starts with pain in the lower left side of my abdomen followed my lots of belching, gas, bloating, cramping and even a hot sensation in my mouth. Are these celiac reactions?

Answer


Reaction time varies from individual to individual, as well the type of reaction. Some have a reaction within 2-3 hours with severe vomiting and/or diarrhea. Researchers have found that cytokine levels rise quickly after exposure in some individuals resulting in severe vomiting. (1) Others may not feel anything until the next day, or a few days after, and some not at all. The symptoms you are describing such as belching, gas, bloating and cramping are very common.

Here are common symptoms after exposure:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (very severe in some cases)
  • Gas/bloating
  • Cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle and joint pain

Keep in mind there are over 200 symptoms associated with celiac disease, so symptoms can vary widely.

It is important to take it easy when you have gotten sick from a gluten exposure, make sure to drink enough fluids and rest. Always contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Read more on what to do after an exposure:

https://nationalceliac.org/celiac-disease-questions/what-to-eat-after-being-glutened/

Reference:

  1. Goel G, Tye-Din JA, Qiao SW, Russell AK, Mayassi T, Ciszewski C, Sarna VK, Wang S, Goldstein KE, Dzuris JL, Williams LJ, Xavier RJ, Lundin KEA, Jabri B, Sollid LM, Anderson RP. Cytokine release and gastrointestinal symptoms after gluten challenge in celiac disease. Sci Adv. 2019 Aug 7;5(8):eaaw7756. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw7756. PMID: 31457091; PMCID: PMC6685723. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaaw7756

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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