How Long Does It Take Gluten to Leave Your System? (2024)

Gluten stays in your system for one to two days. After that, any undigested gluten that remains in your body is excreted along with other waste products. That doesn't necessarily mean that you will feel 100% better once that happens, though.

Fatigue and bloating caused by gluten intolerance, for example, can take days to weeks to resolve. More serious issues like small intestine damage often seen in celiac disease can take months—even if you have followed a gluten-free diet since your last exposure.

This article looks at the symptoms of gluten exposure and how long it takes to start feeling better after you've adopted a gluten-free diet. It also offers some suggestions on how to spot hidden gluten in your food.

Who Should Avoid Gluten?

Anyone diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy should avoid gluten.The protein is found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (a wheat/rye hybrid).

But if you think you might have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it is important to see a healthcare provider before you eliminate gluten from your diet.

Adopting a gluten-free diet reduces gluten antibodies, the markers the blood test for celiac disease looks for. With that, you may get a false-negative result. This makes it much harder for your healthcare provider to diagnose the condition, if you have it.

If gluten intolerance is suspected, you will need to adopt a gluten-free diet under the guidance of your healthcare provider. During the first six weeks, your healthcare provider will perform blood and skin tests to rule out other health conditions that might be causing your symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of a Gluten Reaction?

You may experience a number of different symptoms after you eat gluten, depending on your underlying condition. Some of these symptoms are similar, which is why it's important to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance can cause digestive symptoms as well as whole-body symptoms. These symptoms occur a few hours or days after you've eaten gluten and may include:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating

Gluten Allergy

Exposure to gluten when you have an allergy causes different symptoms from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, though there can be some overlap. These symptoms include:

  • Sneezing and congestion
  • Headache
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or a rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Less commonly, anaphylaxis, a whole-body reaction that can be life-threatening

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can cause symptoms that are similar to symptoms of gluten intolerance. However, these symptoms tend to be much more severe. They include:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stools that are greasy, bulky, and have a foul odor
  • Fatigue
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Problems with balance

Celiac Disease Symptoms

How Long Until Symptoms Improve?

Many people report digestive symptom improvement within a few days of dropping gluten.

Fatigue and brain fog often start getting better in the first week or two. This is a gradual process, though.

Why Am I So Hungry?

It's common to feel constantly hungry during your first several weeks without gluten. You may want to eat all the time. Your body hasn't been able to absorb food properly for a while. So once it can, it'll try to make up for the deficit. Your ravenous appetite should eventually calm down.

Other symptoms, such as the itchy rash dermatitis herpetiformis, may take much longer to clear up.

How to Spot Hidden Gluten

It's easy to make mistakes when first going gluten-free. Gluten is in many foods, some that you may not expect. So you have to get good at reading labels.

If you feel better after a few days but then symptoms come back, it could be from hidden gluten.

How Long Does It Take Gluten to Leave Your System? (1)

Unfortunately, it's normal for your reactions to gluten—even a tiny bit of it—to get worse once you've gone gluten-free. You'll need to guard against gluten cross-contamination at all times.

That may be difficult at first. But it should be second nature before long.

Gluten By Other Names

Unless a food is labeled gluten-free, be sure to read labels and check for the following sources of gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Wheat derivatives (wheatberries, spelt, farina, durum, graham, farro, emmer, semolina, khorasan wheat, einkorn wheat)
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Triticale
  • Wheat starch

Foods That Normally Contain Gluten

Common foods that contain gluten include:

  • Baked goods, such as muffins, banana bread, and cookies
  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Breading
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Croutons
  • Flour tortillas
  • Granola
  • Pancakes, waffles, crepes, and biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Pastries, such as pie, donuts, and rolls


Your celiac symptoms will likely resolve at different rates when you go gluten-free. Digestive symptoms usually get better first. Next are fatigue and thinking problems. A rash and other symptoms may last much longer.

Symptoms of gluten exposure vary depending on the underlying cause. You may experience a number of different symptoms from gastrointestinal problems to whole-body symptoms.

If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, it is important to read labels for gluten-containing ingredients. These can go by many names.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to see results from a gluten-free diet?

    Symptoms may start to improve in days or weeks after starting a gluten-free diet. If you have a dermatitis herpetiformis rash, it'll likely take longer to improve—about six months to two years. Until then, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to help with the rash.

  • Are there any side effects of starting a gluten-free diet?

    Yes, side effects are possible. If you're used to eating whole-wheat foods, a major source of fiber, one side effect may be constipation. Try eating other high-fiber foods, including fruits and vegetables, brown rice, and beans.

4 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Celiac disease.

  2. Celiac Disease Foundation. Sources of gluten.

  3. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for celiac disease.

  4. Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing. Going gluten-free just because? Here's what you need to know.

Additional Reading

  • Columbia University Medical Center, Celiac Disease Center. Diet.

How Long Does It Take Gluten to Leave Your System? (2)

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.

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How Long Does It Take Gluten to Leave Your System? (2024)


How Long Does It Take Gluten to Leave Your System? ›

So, how long does gluten stay in your system? Individuals without a gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, or celiac disease have a gluten transit time of up to 4 hours in the stomach, 6 hours in the small intestine, and 59 hours in the colon. Therefore, it takes 2-3 days for your system to eliminate gluten entirely.

How long does it take to get gluten out of the body? ›

Gluten stays in your system for one to two days. After that, any undigested gluten that remains in your body is excreted along with other waste products. That doesn't necessarily mean that you will feel 100% better once that happens, though.

How do you flush gluten out of your system? ›

There is no way to “flush” gluten out of your system quickly to lessen the discomfort. Finding the best ways to reduce the symptoms in case you get glutened – and being prepared – can help minimize the fear of getting sick. It may happen, but when you are prepared, it can be less stressful.

How long after you stop eating gluten do you feel better? ›

Once you start to follow a gluten-free diet, your symptoms should improve within a few weeks. Many people start to feel better in just a few days. Your intestines probably won't return to normal for several months. It could take years for them to completely heal.

How long does it take for gluten bloat to go away? ›

After you stop eating foods with gluten, your symptoms will likely get better in a few days to weeks. Your small intestine should heal completely in 3 to 6 months. In some cases, it can take longer for full healing, even though you may feel better.

What does a gluten flare up feel like? ›

Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and gas are common reactions to gluten in people with celiac disease. Although it's not common, vomiting can occur, especially if you've ingested a large amount of gluten (think: a slice of pizza or a doughnut, as opposed to a few crumbs).

What does gluten detox feel like? ›

Some people report feeling dizziness, nausea, extreme hunger and even anxiety and depression when they suddenly go from eating a lot of gluten to being gluten-free. These symptoms usually go away after a few weeks on a gluten-free diet, but talk to your health care provider if they persist.

What does a gluten face look like? ›

A typical gluten face will present with red, puffy cheeks, with spots of hyperpigmentation around the chin. Some people will also have pimples spread out over the chin. Your face can also become bloated or swollen.

What are the first signs of being gluten intolerant? ›

Here are some of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity:
  • "Brain fog." This is the most common characteristic of gluten sensitivity. ...
  • Headaches or migraines. ...
  • Dizziness.
  • Acne or rashes. ...
  • Joint pain or numbness. ...
  • Diarrhea, gas or constipation.
  • Distended stomach or bloating.
Apr 12, 2016

How long does gluten inflammation last? ›

For many people, symptoms resolve within a few days, though some may linger for a week or more.

Do you lose weight when going gluten-free? ›

This type of diet may also encourage weight loss (and a better sense of well-being) because overall calorie intake may decrease. If you were overweight before starting a gluten-free diet, your weight loss may be welcome. But, if your weight loss is unwanted, try adding calories with some of the above tips.

What does a celiac belly look like? ›

The intestines make up most of the middle and lower abdomen, so “gluten belly” will look like any other type of lower digestive tract bloating. However, if bloating seems to be a regular or constant problem, that's a possible sign that it may be due to gluten intolerance.

How long does it take your gut to heal after going gluten-free? ›

For most people, the intestine is expected to recover over a period of weeks to months on a strict gluten-free diet. For others, it may take years for the villi to fully recover.

How do I reset my stomach after gluten? ›

Avoid very spicy or fatty foods as they could increase your digestive symptoms. Soups/chicken soup and broths are good options while recovering, just make sure they are gluten-free! Get lots of rest to help your body heal and recover. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing severe symptoms.

What happens when you go gluten-free for a month? ›

"If you are going gluten-free because you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then you may feel relief of symptoms including GI issues, weight loss, improved nutrient absorption, a decrease in aches and pains and headaches, and increased energy," Shapiro says.

How long does it take to heal your gut from gluten? ›

Most people find their symptoms begin to improve almost immediately after starting a gluten-free diet. It may take several weeks to replace your nutritional deficiencies and several months for your gut to fully heal.

How long does it take for your system to normalize after eliminating gluten? ›

On average, people report feeling better after eating a gluten-free diet for 1 month. But this can vary from person to person. Some people feel better faster, and others need more than 1 month to see improvement.

How many days after eating gluten does it affect you? ›

How long after eating gluten can symptoms start? The reaction and reaction time varies among individuals. Some people will have a reaction within two to three hours of gluten consumption. Others may not feel anything until the next day or a few days after, and some not at all.

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