Getting “glutened” refers to the issues that arise when someone with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or other gluten-free diet regimens accidentally ingests gluten and experiences symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, then you’ve probably been very careful about reading food labels and asking about gluten-free items on menus. But even with caution, it’s possible to accidentally ingest gluten. Maybe the waiter you queried didn’t know all of the ingredients in a dish. Or maybe something became cross-contaminated in the manufacturing process.
Here’s what you need to know about getting “glutened.”
Not everyone experiences getting glutened the same way. After accidentally ingesting gluten, you may experience symptoms similar to those you had before your diagnosis – stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea. Or you may experience very different symptoms – like constipation or acid reflux – making it hard to recognize that you’ve been glutened. One common symptom that nearly everyone notices is “brain fog.” Depression and fatigue are also common symptoms of getting glutened.
The amount of gluten it takes to get glutened varies.
Some people can handle a little gluten, while others can handle more gluten before they experience symptoms. For some people, just a few crumbs can cause bloating or other symptoms, while others may not notice any symptoms unless they’ve had a whole donut or slice of pizza that wasn’t gluten-free.
You might not know you’ve been glutened right away.
For many people, it takes a few occurrences of getting glutened before they recognize the symptoms. They may experience some symptoms immediately and then experience more symptoms later. For instance, they may feel fatigued after eating but don’t experience intestinal difficulties until the next day.
Although getting glutened isn’t fun, there is some hope. Only a very small number of people experience severe symptoms like vomiting, rashes, or more serious health issues from glutening. For most people, glutening ends once the gluten is out of your system.
To help you move the gluten out of your system more quickly, here are a few things you can do:
Water is key for keeping things flowing through your colon, so once you realize that you have been glutened, increase your water intake for a faster recovery. Water also helps you hydrate if you’re experiencing diarrhea or vomiting and can help clear your mind if you are experiencing a gluten-induced brain fog.
Some people carry digestive enzymes that can be taken before a meal to help prevent symptoms if you are dining out and are unsure of the menu. You can also take digestive supplements after you realize you have been glutened and continue taking them until symptoms subside.