Wheat Allergy Versus Celiac Disease

There’s a lot of attention on gluten-free eating these days. If you’re confused about terms like gluten-intolerance, wheat allergy, and celiac disease, here are some basic details to help you distinguish between conditions.

wheat allergy

Wheat allergy is an allergic response to proteins found in wheat. It often occurs just after eating wheat and can cause swelling or itching of the mouth and throat, hives, hay fever, wheezing, stomach cramps, and nausea.

Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder characterized by an intolerance to gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, their immune system launches an attack that damages the lining of the small intestines so that nutrients can no longer be properly absorbed into the body.

Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of the two conditions:

Wheat Allergy

Celiac Disease

DefinitionImmune response to wheat proteins (may include gluten)Autoimmune disorder,

Hereditary

Symptoms (Gastrointestinal)Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhea
Bloating
Mouth or Throat Irritation

Diarrhea

Bloating

Abdominal Pain

Extra-intestinal SymptomsHives

Rash
Nasal Congestion
Eye Irritation
Difficulty in Breathing

Weight loss

Malnutrition

Anemia

Bone Loss

Skin Issues

Neurological Conditions
Dysfunction of the Liver

Joint Pain
Loss of Hair
Fatigue

Antibody TestNegativePositive
Intestinal BiopsyNormalAbnormal
TreatmentFood allergy treatment using sublingual immunotherapy or avoidance of wheat productsGluten-free lifestyle, strict diet

If you suspect that you or someone close to you has wheat allergy or celiac disease, consult your physician about proper diagnosis and treatment.