How Is Wheat Allergy Diagnosed?

Updated on December 25, 2008
M.G. asks from Omaha, NE
8 answers

My step-son's mom took him to see an allergist today. He's always sneezing, etc. His mother left us a msg and said that he is allergic to all the typical things that can be treated with antihistamines (grass, pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, etc.) but that the doctor also wants him to avoid wheat in his diet for 2 weeks and then report back to see if there was any difference. Anyone who has children with wheat / gluten allergies, can you tell me what the symptoms were and what the diagnosis entailed? Were any additional tests done? What's the easiest way to avoid these foods - especially right now over the holidays? We are invited to my sister's for x-mas eve and I want to make sure that we're prepared and know what things to avoid.

Also, I don't have allergies, but I always thought that diagnosing allergies involved tests for which results wouldn't be immediately available? Am I wrong?


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answers from St. Cloud on

From my experience with allergy testing on my daughter as well as my father's recent allergy testing the results were immediate. This issue with wheat/gluten is that it is hard to test for so doctors have you nix it from your diet for a few weeks to see if conditions improve. My doctor had me nix it for 2 months, that was hard! Gluten sensitivities can present themselves in many different ways. For me, I was lethargic, sniffling a lot, having stomach cramps, etc. For my dad it is headaches. I just go to the natural section of the grocery store and they have little tags by all the gluten free products so you know which ones to buy. If you are not looking for substitutes and just want to avoid eating wheat the best bet is just to allow fruit, veggies, and meat. This website might help - Good luck!

P.S. I was able to slowly add some gluten back into my diet, I just could be the carb addict that I was before.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

One thing I'd like to mention is that there is a difference between wheat allergy, which is a life threatening reaction to a food (such as being unable to breath/going into shock), and food intolerance/sensitivity, which in many cases is usually the gliadin protein, but there are other proteins in wheat a person can be sensitive to as well, such as gluten, which is a genetic disorder in which the body is unable to process gluten, resulting in malnutrition from lack of proper absorption.

I know, because I found out through a saliva test that I am intolerant to wheat (gliadin), soy, and dairy (casein). Like your stepson, I also went on an elimination diet. Except I had to avoid all foods that had "anything" to do with soy, wheat, or dairy. Not easy.

Then, to make matters even more harry, I had a blood test taken and discovered I am intolerant to even more foods:
SEVERE: soybean, dairy (casein), wheat (gliadin), haibut, pinto bean. MODERATE: apple, banana, beef, barley, spinach, scallop, Baker's yeast, snapper, watermelon. MILD: almond, black pepper, carrot, celery, oat, turkey, white potato, Brewer's yeast, avocado, sole. Now my eating options are even more restricted!

However, unlike a true allergy, food intolerances offer the sufferer the possibility of one day being able to reintroduce the offending food, although eating said food must be in moderation. In fact, once my system is "cleansed" of all the foods I am sensitive to, I will need to go on a four-day rotation diet. This type of diet helps ensure that you not only do not become resensitized to the foods you're currently sensitive to, but it will also try to prevent any new sensitivities from developing.

In my case, I had absolutely no idea I had any food intolerances of any kind. Never had any symptoms. The only reason food intolerance was suspected was that I suffered from chronic illnesses (high blood pressure, allergies, asthma, Seasonal Affective Disorder, GERD, sinunitis/rhinunitis (sp), atophic dermatitis/acne rosacea), and kept getting sicker and sicker. Conventional doctors couldn't find out why I kept getting sick, with a new diagnosis practically every winter, so I decided to see an alternative medicine practitioner.

Best thing I ever did. The Integration Medicine doctor I saw immediately started checking me for food allergies and intolerances. She told me that many, many people suffer needlessly from taking prescription mediciations when, in all likelihood, their medical problem is caused by food allergies/intolerances and, if they were eliminated, the person could eliminate the prescription drugs they take as well.

It's only now, after I haven't eaten soy, dairy, and wheat for a couple months (the others I just found out about right before Christmas, so the elimination diet hasn't had time to take effect yet)] that I am finally able to "tell" the symptoms if I eat something with one of the offending foods in it.

I do know people who have the wheat gluten sensitivity problem (Celiac disease), and they definitely must completely and totally stay away from anything with wheat in it, to include not sharing cooking utensils and cookware, etc. A food intolerance is not that severe or that restrictive.

Good luck to your stepson as he figures out what he has and how to cope with it, and sending strength and patience to his caregivers, as you learn how to help him.

Bless you for trying to help make this easier for him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Celiac Disease is a very serious disease. 2 people in our family have it. The Celia (little fingers in your small intestines) die off. The Celia are responsible for vitamin and nutrient absorbtion. Celiac Disease is diagnosed with a blood test after age 1. Symtoms: violent stomach pain, severe diarreha, naseau, no energy, you feel very lousy for a very long time and you never feel better until you completely eliminate wheat/gluten from your diet. This does not mean simply flour, etc. If he has Celiac Disease, you will need to become a detailed label reader. Nothing distilled because it's distilled with wheat and is contaminated. No artificial flavors or colors, they to are made with wheat. You can not use the same pans to cook in or the same turner to flip food. Don't get a head of yourself...get tested first and then if he has it, go see an internist and then a diatician!!



answers from Minneapolis on

To answer your question about how food allergies are diagnosed, there are basically 2 ways: blood tests and elimination diets. I have no idea why a doctor would choose one over the other, but cost and time may have something to do with it.

Wheat/gluten are in a lot of things: cookies, breads, crackers, cereals, and so on. Ask the mother to provide a list of foods that he CAN have over the holidays. Also, go shopping and pick up some gluten- and wheat-free goodies so your stepson doesn't feel left out; you can get them at co-ops, Whole Foods, and the natural food aisle of most supermarkets.
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Celiac can be diagnosed with a blood test. I'm not sure of all the symptoms, but some can be constipation, behavioral issues.

I would ask for a blood test to find out conclusively. It is also possible that he may not be "allergic" but can still have an intolerance, which the diet experiment would help clarify so I would try that too. It can be tricky to cut them out because it is really in sooo many things.

Good luck,



answers from Omaha on

One of my daycare kids has a wheat allergy so we had to do the two week test. Her main symptoms were ezyma, really dry flaky skin on her legs and arms. Luckily the allergy meds that they put her on stopped the rash enough that she didn't have to exclude wheat long term because it is in everything.
Luckily wheat is one of the main allergies so every package of food has to have an allergy warning if it has wheat in it. You are just going to have to read all the lables before you make him food.



answers from Sioux Falls on

None of my children have a wheat allergy, however, some good friends of mine had a son who is. I remember him being sick all of the time after eating anything with wheat or it's gluten in it. I don't mean just queezy to his stomach, I mean down right physically ill. If the doctor recommended that he stays away from wheat products for two weeks, there must have been something else in that test that he's suspects. You'll have to become an avid reader of all labels on products that you eat. You'd be surprised what contains wheat gluten as a thickening agent The best substitute that my friends found is rice but let me warn you, some of the products are not cheap.



answers from Des Moines on

Wheat/gluten allergies can be difficult to diagnose. Most of the time, though, the wheat allergy causes stomach/intestional pain. It doesn't hurt to cut it out for a couple weeks to see if he feels better, but I know it is difficult. I was a cook at Iowa state for a few years and had to cook separate meals for many different allergies/sensitivities. Luckily, there are a lot of things out there that he can eat-right off the shelf. I would check out your local health food store. A lot of times they have more variety of gluten free products. You can make almost anything for him that he would get at christmas dinner. That way he won't miss out on anything. I believe there is a website for GF kids/parents. If that is what he has, it can be difficult always having to prepare something different, but if he is healthier because of it-then it's worth it.
Rice flour you can substitute for reg. flour-just watch your consistency. Also look at seasoning mixes before adding them. A lot of times they have wheat products in them. Good luck.

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