Retaining Water After Eating Gluten

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Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is sometimes in vitamins and medicines as well. Gluten sensitivity, also known as gluten intolerance, is a common digestive issue. You might have gluten intolerance if you experience water retention after eating foods containing gluten. The way to know for sure is to consult your physician with your concerns.


Some people do not absorb gluten properly. Others experience an abnormal immune reaction in their bodies that produces antibodies in an attempt to destroy gluten. This is a more severe form of gluten sensitivity because repeated attacks can damage your small intestine. People with gluten sensitivity must reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets depending on the severity of their condition.


Gluten sensitivity symptoms vary widely. Some people with gluten sensitivity experience no symptoms at all. Those who do, typically experience bloating and bowel disturbances such as diarrhea, fatty stools and constipation, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Other conditions that may occur from gluten sensitivity include fatigue, depression, anxiety and tingling sensations in your hands and feet. If you continually experience water retention after eating gluten-rich foods, see your doctor.

Water Retention

Water retention causes fluids to accumulate in the spaces between your cells. Edema is another word for this. Your face may feel puffy or your stomach might feel bloated. Your ankles or feet might swell. Fluid retention can have other causes, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis. Eliminating suspected allergens such gluten, dairy, soy and corn may help reduce water retention symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Gluten sensitivity is not always easy to diagnose. Your doctor will assess your symptoms and most likely ask you to keep a food diary. Your doctor can perform an intestinal biopsy to see if there is characteristic damage, which might indicate gluten sensitivity. However, not all gluten-sensitive people have an autoimmune response. You will need to follow a low-gluten or gluten-free diet if you are diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. Your dietitian can determine the best diet based on your level of sensitivity. If you have autoimmune gluten sensitivity, you must follow a life-long gluten-free diet to prevent intestinal damage.