This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc. Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease SymptomsWhat testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease ScreeningInterpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test ResultsCan I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-FreeIs celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic TestingIs there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and DisordersIs there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)Gluten-Free Alcoholic BeveragesDistilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free DietFree recipes: Gluten-Free RecipesWhere can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity
Personally, I would start by going refined-sugar free. Sugar can do so much damage and it is addictive. When I first cut out all sugars, I had a headache for two days as a side effect, but my blood sugar swings stabilized and it gave me more energy.
There are other autoimmune diseases that could be considered. Have you been tested for the antibodies to your thyroid? How about an ANA test? That can give you clues to things like lupus, though many things can cause a high ANA. Your sister might have too many mast cells or mast cell reaction syndrome, causing allergic reactions.
You should read up on the GAPS diet, or Specific Carb Diet to get some ideas of where to start to heal your gut.
Those things are definitely gluten related for me. I've been gluten-free for about 3 1/2 months now, and I still have itchy skin. I test high for Chronic Urticaria, which for me is itchy skin (and scalp) and wheals-- what look like little mosquito bites mostly on my arms and legs. Anyway-- many of your symptoms are gluten related. Be really strict with the diet and you will see a dramatic change. Also, try to get your nutrient levels up, that can certainly wreak havoc with your body.
At 2 yrs old, you are still pretty in tune with her body. She can't tell you if she feels "off", but you can observe changes in bowel movements and temperament. My children are a bit older than yours, but I asked the older two (8 and 11) if they wanted to try going gluten free to see if they notice a difference. I'm anxious that my children don't go through the same problems I have had to deal with. The two older agreed. My 11 year old went gluten-free right away, in October. The other decided to wait until aftre the holidays, so she could have all the treats offered her (she decided that after 1.5 months gluten-free). I don't know where I read it, but we decided three months would be best. It gives the diet ample time to work, including a few cases of contamination. They have both noticed changes in bowel movements and tummy aches when they have gluten. Thus we know it is affecting them-- but I don't think either are convinced yet. I am encouraging them to keep trying. I don't want them to be Celiac either. They know how hard the diet is. I just want them to be healthy.
To answer your questions: I think we all over analyze, when it comes to this. It's probably because the symptoms are so varied, and can be subtle. We've been through years of people telling us our symptoms are in our head, that nothing is wrong, that when we find out something really is wrong, we have a hard time trusting our own judgement. We don't know what is normal anymore. It's even harder when it comes to our children.
I can't give any advice concerning the pill, but still wanted to put in my 2 cents. I used to have very painful periods every month. Curled up in pain kind of stuff. I missed a lot of school and work from it. It wasn't until I started messing with my diet that I figured out the cause of my pain. I'm lactose intolerant, and my only symptom is painful periods. I don't know if your pain has the same cause, but I really think we do more harm by throwing drugs at our problems rather than trying to find the source of the problem and fixing that.
I get a similar looking rash on my elbows and knees. It comes and goes, and while I've found a few things that seem to trigger it (vitamin supplements), I don't know for sure what it is or what causes it.
I'm going through much the same thing as you. I feel like I have been glutened even when it is highly unlikely. I think I have been reacting to rice, oats and corn. I'm currently eating grain free-- just started yesterday in fact, to see if it reduces the inflammation, heart palpitations, nausea, tight chest, etc. I think it is helping, at least I slept through the night last night.
There are other factors at play here besides gluten-- though I'm convinced gluten set everything in motion. Our bodies are really messed up right now, and some things are difficult to tolerate. Try to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you're deficient in, because they control many of these basic body functions-- B12, Vitamin D, Iron, etc.
It feels like a mess of tangled yarn we have to unweave. It takes time to see what string needs to be pulled, and then we see another string that needs to come out. I wish it were all simple.
I'm going to do some experimenting soon to see how much gum and starches really are necessary in bread. Is there anybody who has already experimented in this area? What were your results? I don't use gum in my cookies or pancakes, and they turn out fine. I'm just not comfortable adding things to my food that may not contribute to my health.
You are probably still getting bits of wheat/gluten through contamination. Being highly allergic, I am betting you are also very sensitive. You have to look at the labels for everything, avoid oats as well because they are highly contaminated, don't buy anything from bins at bulk food stores, even check your spices. Then look at what you are using to prepare your food, if it has been used with wheat and has anyplace gluten can hide (scratches , pores, etc), don't use it. Flour in the air can get you, as well.
Going wheat/gluten free is not a simple thing and it is easy to make mistakes. If after everything, you still feel lousy, you should have your thyroid checked, and nutrient levels. I hope you get to feeling better!
I've only tried a couple flour blends. I can't stand Bob's Red Mill, and neither can the rest of the family. However, we really like Sun Flour Mills All Purpose Flour. They seem to be a pretty new company, and local to the Pacific Northwest. Their mix makes an excellent bread.
Now with regards to anxiety and depression. My depression almost completely disappeared after a few weeks gluten free. It's only been a couple months for me so far, with only a couple episodes of depression (I think I got some cross contamination in there). Anxiety improved when I took zyrtec for my hives. It didn't help the hives, but it knocked the anxiety down a couple notches. I found out later that antihistamines are actually a first line of defense at mental hospitals.