Gluten sensitivity can manifest in a variety of different forms. People with gluten sensitivity do not always have obvious digestive symptoms. Instead, they may present with symptoms of imbalance in other body systems. A 2011 British Medical Journal Case Report found evidence of this phenomenon. In this case study, researchers found evidence linking hives, headaches, and amenorrhea (lack of menstrual bleeding) to gluten sensitivity.
This study involved a 22 year-old woman with the symptoms listed above. Lab exams, neurological, and endocrine tests were performed, but the tests did not reveal anything that would indicate why this woman would be experiencing these symptoms. A skin prick test revealed that she had gluten sensitivity. A gluten-free diet resolved the chronic hives and headaches, and the woman re-established normal menstruation. However, when gluten was re-introduced into the daily diet, the symptoms returned. The hives appeared on her skin about 20 minutes after gluten was consumed, and the headaches would begin the next day. She also began missing her periods again.
The researchers concluded that gluten sensitivity can indeed be a cause for unexplained hormonal, neurological, and dermal imbalances. Gluten sensitivity should be suspected if a person is experiencing these kinds of symptoms without any traceable cause, especially if the person is in a high-risk group for Celiac Disease or has a first-degree relative with CD or gluten sensitivity.