Pangs of stomach pain after pasta? Feeling constantly tired and headachy? Digestive problems? A lot of people would recognise these as common symptoms of coeliac disease.
What a lot of people might not know is that coeliac disease can affect far more than just your digestive system, it can also really affect your skin. An itchy, scratchy rash on your skin - often mistaken for eczema - can actually be a symptom of coeliac disease.
Up to 25% of coeliacs suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis which is a skin condition directly linked to consuming gluten. Interestingly, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity can also be a contributing factor in conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, dry skin and others. So even if you are not a coeliac, it may be worthwhile avoiding gluten.
One of the Sönd team, Eileen, is all too familiar with this: "I went to three doctors before finally being told I had 'eczema' and given a harsh steroid cream to use for flare-ups. But after I was diagnosed a coeliac and went on a strict gluten free diet, my skin healed completely. I haven't had a flare-up since."
Get Tested for Coeliac Disease Before Going Gluten Free
While not every skin condition is caused by gluten, if you're experiencing similar symptoms with your skin it's a good idea to consult your doctor and get an allergy blood test.
A diagnosis for coeliacs is achieved by proving that gluten is damaging your intestine. So you should get tested with your doctor BEFORE you start a completely gluten free diet. If there's no gluten in your system, the damage won't be present for a successful diagnosis.
It's especially a good idea to get tested for coeliac disease if a family member has also been diagnosed. While they might exhibit non-skin related symptoms, remember the symptoms can vary vastly. For Eileen this was very much the case: "My mom was diagnosed years before me, and while her symptoms were mostly sinus related, I had itchy skin and incredibly intense stomach aches."
If you are tested negative for coeliac disease, but continue to suffer from eczema, it's worth trying a strict gluten-free diet for a couple of months to see if it will improve your skin condition.
Going Gluten Free is Easier than You Think!
Studies suggest that a strict gluten-free diet can help relieve (or even get rid of) eczema symptoms, both in those that have coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.
While it's so much easier to eat gluten-free than it was even just 5 years ago, we know that cutting out such an essential food group from your diet completely can be daunting. The key to success is arming yourself with lots of tasty recipes for things you CAN have.
So to get you started, we've gathered a few delicious gluten free recipes for you to try!
1.Breakfast: Banana Pecan Waffles
2. Lunch: Crunchy Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing
3. Dinner: Tomato, Red Wine & Chorizo Risotto
Sönd is taking part in the Allergy & Free From Show in Liverpool on the 5-6th November 2016. It is a weekend full of products (food, skincare, household items and etc.), cooking classes, talks from experts - the list goes on - all "free from" and all dedicated to dedicated to helping you to improve your life.
Make sure to come say hi, we will be at stand B36!