Wheat does not cause severe gas and stomach pain in healthy adults. If you develop severe gas and pain after eating products that contain wheat, you may have a wheat intolerance or allergy. If you have this condition, when you eat foods that contain wheat proteins, including gluten, you will develop abdominal pain and diarrhea. Common foods that can trigger your symptoms include cookies, bread, pasta, pizza crust and baked goods.
People with celiac disease have a severe reaction to gluten, a protein in wheat. Although the cause of celiac disease is undetermined, the damage it does is well documented. If you have celiac disease, when you eat wheat products, your immune system attacks the small hairlike lining of your intestines that absorbs nutrients. This can cause you to become malnourished because your digestive system stops absorbing needed nutrition. This condition, which is mostly found in people of European descent, can develop at any time in life. Although it is not more common among a certain age group, it is more common in women.
Symptoms of celiac disease, which typically develop within 20 to 30 minutes after you consume products that contain wheat, are different in every person. You may experience just stomach pain and gas after eating wheat products, or you may have more than one symptom. Other symptoms include vomiting, constipation, weight loss, pale stools, depression, anxiety, seizures, arthritis, bone pain, itchy skin, fatigue or anemia.
If you develop other symptoms aside from digestive complications, you may have a wheat allergy. A wheat allergy is different from gluten intolerance, because it is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to several of the proteins found in wheat products, not just gluten. An allergic reaction can affect your respiratory system and skin. Severe gas and stomach pain are common symptoms of a wheat allergy, but you also may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, runny nose, postnasal drip, hives, eczema or general skin inflammation.
The most effective treatment for both conditions is to remove all wheat and gluten from your diet. Wheat may be found in many unlikely foods, such as hard candy, condiments and ice cream. Read all product labels and purchase foods that are labeled “gluten-free.” Use substitute flours that don’t contain gluten, such as rice flour, soy flour or corn flour.