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Severe Reaction After Gluten Reintro


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I completed my whole30 about 2 weeks ago and felt incredible for maybe the first time in my life. The first thing I reintroduced was dairy and while I didn't have any immediately noticeable side effects, about 24 hours later I had stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea that lasted for about another day. It was enough to make me aware of the adverse reaction but only lasted about a day.

After the negative reaction I went back to a whole30 diet for about a week and 3 days ago reintroduced gluten. Again there were no immediate effects but the next morning I had severe stomach pain that lasted well into the afternoon, diarrhea all day, and a headache at the base of my skull that was awful. I woke up this morning and the stomach pain is again terrible, still have frequent diarrhea and bloating, and the headache has persisted.

The stomach pains are almost debilitating and it leads me to ask is this normal? The pain comes and goes but it is so severe that it makes it difficult to function. I generally have a very high pain tolerance and am not just being a cissy, lol. 

If this is a normal side effect is it common for it to be so severe nearly 3 days after ingesting the gluten? Are there any suggestions for alleviating the symptoms to get some relief? 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you!!


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Hey @LaraF & welcome to the forums.

The thing with dairy is that when you stop ingesting it your body stops producing the enzymes required to digest it which is why it's fairly common to get a reaction. That said, the reaction may have ALWAYS been there but may now be more noticeable/pronounced because the protective mucosal lining that would have built up in your gut over the years will have shed with the absence of inflammatory foods so it can be helpful to trial dairy a couple of times. Often the gastro symptoms calm down, but there is a bit of a creeping effect when dairy is included on a daily basis - eventually causing maybe a build up of cataarh, a cough after eating, a negative impact on sleep quality etc...

A reaction with gluten however tends to be fairly definitive and the symptoms can take longer to subside as they clear from the system, depending on how much you consumed. What do you eat on your gluten trial day? 

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Did you suspect that gluten might be problematic?

As with the dairy the reaction will be more pronounced right now, but it seems to me that gluten and you might not be friends.

I'd suggest drinking plenty of water to try & flush out the system, and monitor your symptoms over the next few days just on the off chance you've maybe contracted some kind of stomach bug. If you're in any doubt you can of course re-test - a reaction doesn't necessarily mean you're coeliac, but you could be gluten intolerant in which case you'll have to decide if eating gluten of any kind is going to be worth it to you...

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