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Gluten Free Guerrillas
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IBS and Gluten Free

Hello, I need some reassurance!

I've decided to start a gluten free lifestyle as I have had IBS for years and recently its got worse!

I also suffer with allergies and get a lot of headaches, so I'm hoping this change will help eliminate these problems.

I'm now 2 weeks in and I'm feeling pretty crappy. Bunged up sinuses, tired and generally not quite right. Is this normal?

I don't know if you have a period of detox or withdrawal but would like to know if its all worth it in the end!

17 Replies

Hi Jo

I don't think its usual to have gluten withdrawal symptoms, but if you have reduced your carbs by a significant amount, you could be experiencing carb withdrawal. The switch over from your body using carbs to using fat as its primary fuel can make you feel fairly rubbish. If this is the case, you might want to make sure you are eating some non gluten carbs. Also try eating some meaty soups.

The other possibility is that you may be having problems with dairy.

Have you tried keeping a food diary to see if you can spot any problem foods?

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I have changed my carbs by substituting them for gluten free versions. I did try lactose free milk and yogurt but was going to go back to normal as I've never had a problem with dairy.

I'll keep an eye on what I'm eating and see how this week goes.

Thanks for your reply!


If you are eating ready made gluten free foods from the supermarkets, these can cause problems to a sensitive stomach, often because of the additives. It's best to stick to naturally gluten free foods if you can.

Good luck with your week.


Many gluten free products have a great deal of extra in them. They are my hours higher in sodium and sugars generally. And unfortunately for those who are sensitive usually contain soy. Is there a chance soy is part of your allergies?

(diagnosed with celiac 16 years ago )


Im not sure about soy, I think the problem like you say there's so much extra added that it seems I'm excluding one thing but then adding fuel to the fire with other things I wouldn't normally be eating.

I'm now on antibiotics for a sinus infection so this week I'm not going to know what is going on, might have to carry on this week then see how it goes next week.

Tummy not great at the mo so really don't know what way to move forward.

Time will tell!


Oh really didn't think of that!

Thank you for replying, hopefully I'll get on better this week!


If you have no diagnosis of coeliac disease why do you think switching to a gluten free diet will help? Have you asked your doctor for a test to check if you a a coeliac? If you are not, then I suggest you look elsewhere for a cause of your symptoms.

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I have been tested and it came back negative, but we thought about giving it a go as she said some IBS sufferers are wheat intolerant.

I was going to give it a couple more weeks and then try eating some food with gluten to see how I get on. Process of elimination!

If of course I'm okay then I'll carry on as before and as you said, see what else could be the trigger.

Thanks for replying!


You can be gluten sensitive - without being a full-blown coeliac :-) Wheat of today is a far cry from what it used to be. It is so hybridized and our bodies are not able to recognise it :-(


In the first week I felt better fairly quickly, not so tired and my tummy felt a bit more settled. This week has been up and down, but I think I've also got a head cold which is why I've felt pants!

I did decide to go back to normal milk and yogurts this week and carry on with the gluten free and decide next week what to do depending on how the week goes.

If my tummy starts to get grumbly then Ill know that the normal milk and yogurts could be trigger. Then ill know to go back to lactose free.

Time will tell I suppose!

Thanks for replying!

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Hi jo,

I agree with penel about dairy as lactose intolerance can cause bunged up sinuses. There is a really simple hydrogen breath test to detect lactose intolerance. Also the older we get the less able our bodies are at digesting milk/lactose and we are the only mammal to drink milk after weaning. I stopped drinking milk 2 months ago and have noticed many subtle differences. One being at the moment I am taking penicillin for a gum infection, when in the past antibiotics always gave me the runs but not this time.

Another thing about cows milks is the molecules are much larger than that of human milk, so it has to be broken down in the gut before it can be absorbed.

I also agree about keeping a food diary and an elimination diet with guidance from a nutritionalist to ensure that you still have a balanced diet could be a good idea.

You might well benefit from trying a FODMAP diet here's a couple of links:



Here's also a link to the archives of GFG as a FODMAP diet has come up before:


I would ask your Dr for a full blood screen to see what your iron, vitamin and mineral levels are as deficiencies can make us feel low.

And I hope that you feel better soon.


Thank you for your reply.

I'm going to give my doctor a call tomorrow as I have also been using lactose free milk. May be eliminating one at a time would be better for to be able to distinguish the difference.


Hi buddy , I suffer with ibs and I'm not a coliac. Extremely sensitive to gluten , ( ncgs ) non celiac gluten sensitivity...took me 6 weeks off being off it too notice a difference . I totally empathise with you.. I can be really terrible at times. Also it's not just the lactose in dairy that affects ibs it's also the other proteins whey and casein which is in all dairy. Again, took at least 2-3 weeks to notice a difference ... If you want major relief from your ibs longterm I would reccomend cutting out all gluten and dairy permernantly and research ' low fodmap' diets... Has changed my life with ibs following this .. Onions , garlic are a big no no!! Look it up, research the web and don't give up.. There is light at the end of it all! : )

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My husband tested negative for C.D. but he was not eating gluten at the time and doesn't want to start it again as he is so much better. In his case his improvement was dramatic. All his I.B.S. symptoms stopped after the first week and his digestive system has never been better. Whatever we want to call it doesn't matter but obviously gluten is not good for him! X


Thanks guys!

I'm now back on track with gluten and lactose free so hopefully ill get there. If there's still slight niggles I'll look further into the dairy side of it.

Thanks for the replies, helps to know you're not alone, especially if you don't know people personally who also suffer!

Have a good day!


Two things here:

Certain proteins in milk cause a variety of upper respiratory tract and digestive symptoms. Our ability to digest milk proteins diminishes as we age as we're supposed to be weaned!

Lactose is another thing altogether, it is a sugar, so symptoms of lactose intolerance are farting and bowel noise (believe me, I know!) and, for me, lactose free dairy products have eliminated the symptoms.

IBS sufferers may have other problems with gas producing foods and it's worth trying FODMAPs (just Google it) or food combining if you have really gassy issues (to the point where it is painful.)


I'm starting to think it may be more lactose or even dairy than gluten, made gluten free cupcakes Sunday and had funny tummy since! There was a lot of butter in it!


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