Gluten sensitivity has similar symptoms to celiac disease, which include abdominal sensitivity, cramping and diarrhea, according to WebMD. The patient may also experience headaches and fatigue.
Patients who suffer from gluten sensitivity do not test positive for celiac disease, though they have most of the symptoms, explains the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. This is because their gluten intolerance is not accompanied by any increase in tissue transglutaminase or heightened mucosal permeability, both of which are characteristic of celiac disease. Therefore, people suffering from gluten sensitivity may have little to no intestinal damage.
Patients with gluten sensitivity also experience nongastrointestinal symptoms, explains the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. These include joint pain, foggy mind, headaches and numbness in their fingers, arms and legs.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity often appear a few hours or days after a person ingests gluten, explains the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The symptoms are likely to go away if the patient eliminates gluten from his diet.
It is harder to diagnose nonceliac gluten sensitivity, and doctors rely on symptoms and elimination of other diseases to diagnose this condition. The patient must explain his symptoms to his doctor, and the doctor tests for wheat allergy and celiac disease. If both of these tests are negative, the doctor may ask the patient to eliminate gluten from his diet. If the symptoms improve after this, the patient likely has gluten sensitivity.