What happens if someone with coeliac disease eats gluten by mistake?

The reaction to eating gluten varies from person to person. In some people, it may trigger symptoms that last several days, while others might not experience any symptoms at all. The amount of gluten someone eats affects the degree of gut damage and your individual sensitivity to gluten affects the symptoms you may or may not experience. You may also find that your symptoms differ in type and/or severity compared to before you were diagnosed.

If a mistake is made and you have gluten by accident, it is unlikely to cause any long term gut damage, although you may suffer from diarrhoea, abdominal pain or vomiting so it is important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. You may find taking medication to treat constipation, diarrhoea or headaches can ease your symptoms. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for further advice.

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