What to do about post-gluten bloating?
June 25, 2010 12:22 PM   Subscribe

GlutenFilter: if someone with a gluten intolerance accidentally eats some, is there anything they can do to reduce their uncomfortable bloating?

Asking for my partner, who's been off gluten for a year (we think it's an allergy but less strong than full-blown Celiac). Whenever she has some by mistake, she gets bloated and it feels unpleasant. This often lasts a couple of days after the offending meal. About 90 minutes ago, she had a few bites of a veggie pate that was promised to be GF but turned out to contain whole wheat flour.

Most of the online advice I've seen is of the "Prone to bloating? Cut down on gluten!" variety. That's obviously unhelpful in this case. One source that at least addressed the issue said "If you gave some by mistake, eat enzymes!" Does that mean she should down a bunch of sprouts or something?

Does anybody have any more specific advice of what, if anything, she should do, and/or what she shouldn't do to exacerbate the symptoms? Thanks.
posted by Beardman to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My SO feels better when the accidental gluten passes through his system. So you might ask your doctor if facilitating moving things along would be safe and effective, and what are safe ways to go about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:36 PM on June 25, 2010

Hi, I'm not a doc or anything... I can say what I do when I get glutened. I drink ginger tea, tons of water and take hot baths. I avoid eating big meals, and stick to small meals with easily digestible foods for a couple of days. Food like steamed veggies, rice, chicken broth and applesauce are going to go down easy. Try also eating yogurt with probiotics. No raw salads, raw veggies or tons of fat and heavy meat. She should avoid wearing restrictive clothing, and yoga and moderate walking also helps. Hope she feels better!
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 12:41 PM on June 25, 2010

I have a friend that had gastric bypass surgery. When bread gets the better of him, it helps him to walk.
posted by notned at 1:17 PM on June 25, 2010

In my experience dairy makes it worse, Metamucil (psyllium) makes it better.
posted by geekchic at 2:00 PM on June 25, 2010

Have some bromelain or papain capsules around, or quick eat some fresh papaya or pineapple. These enzymes may help break up the gluten protein that's causing the problem, if you slam them fast enough. IANAD, etc., but this is advice I had from a doctor who is himself gluten intolerant.
posted by zadcat at 2:09 PM on June 25, 2010

we think it's an allergy but less strong than full-blown Celiac

Maybe I'm isunderstanding your phrasing, but just in case: celiac isn't a stronger version of wheat allergy.

Celiac is an immune-mediated disease that manifests in a lot of different ways, with 200 possible symptoms -- and some people experience almost none of them. So there's nothing about symptoms alone that can tell her whether she has Celiac. If she hasn't been tested, it'd be a really good idea to clarify whether she has wheat allergy or celiac.

For symptom relief, my doctor has me on high doses of prilosec (which reduces some of the gassiness and bloating), and an antispasmodic (which eases the intestinal/abdominal cramping, which in turn makes diarrhea a little less agonizing).

geekchic has a good point about dairy. It's common for celiac to cause (temporary or permanent) lactose intolerance. So adding dairy on top of a glutening can risk making the pain/yuckiness worse.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 2:53 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Then, there's also the possibility that there's something else in the 'bread'stuff contents that might be causing this. Aka yeast, etc...
posted by bitterkitten at 3:14 PM on June 25, 2010

I am similar to Beardwoman -- don't have full blown Celiac but feel much better when I abstain from gluten. For me the best way to temper the effects are to eat as cleanly as humanly possible for a few days after accidentally (or purposely) consuming gluten, and avoid all foods that I know are prone to irritating my gut. For me, that means limiting my diet to lean protein, non-starchy veg, and small amounts of fruit.
posted by telegraph at 3:23 PM on June 25, 2010

This blog post from my friend Meg mentions taking enzymes.
posted by gillianr at 6:38 PM on June 25, 2010

While there might be ways (enzymes?) to prevent the generation of gas, taking activated charcoal tablets can absorb the gas and reduce pain and bloating. A bit of fibre (psyllium husks?) might get things moving and the offending substance out.
posted by polyglot at 10:50 PM on June 25, 2010

Try some simethicone to break up the gas bubbles and reduce the bloating.
posted by Ouisch at 4:57 PM on June 26, 2010

Days later, I realize that was totally the wrong link. Simethicone.

Damn cut n paste.
posted by Ouisch at 6:48 AM on June 28, 2010

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