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My New Celiac Girl
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This is my first post so apologies for the length of it. 

 

I just started dating this really sweet girl.  I have IBD and follow a low carb, gluten free diet.  I was dreading telling her I had ulcerative colitis, but today I bit the bullet and told her.  It didn't phase her at all, and she blurted back at me, 'I have celiac disease'!  I was very surprised as I noticed she'd been eating typical western diet stuff.  We spoke briefly about celiac, she said it doesn't cause her any problems so why should she stop eating pizzas etc.  I thought no more of it.

 

So tonight I learned as much as I could about Celiac, and it sounds like she's either in denial or doesn't know about the dangers and potential damage she is doing to herself in the long run (she's 30).  I got a lump in my throat after I'd read all that stuff as I don't think I could be with some who knowingly chooses to eat what she shouldn't.

 

I'm totally gluten free/low carb and have had great success in controlling my ulcerative colitis through diet.  I'd be 100% supportive of the diet she should follow. The problem is I think I could easily fall in love with this girl very soon, but I couldn't live with someone who chooses to eat gluten knowing she shouldn't.  She already has some back pain problems, headaches and sleeps and awful lot.  She gave up smoking a while ago - for obvious health reasons so I'm hopeful for her that it's an education issue.

 

I know I need to have a conversation with her soon about this but I don't have a clue how to proceed.  I'm really hoping she doesn't understand the seriousness of the gluten situation.  Am I right in thinking if she keeps eating gluten she will eventually develop a range of health issues?  Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.  I don't want to sound like I'm lecturing her on her own health.

 

I hope you celiacs are as helpful as the IBD people!

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Good job to you for your efforts to better your own health.  I too would be extremely concerned by the fact that she is still eating gluten.  I think you need to find out if she is un-informed about celiac or if she is choosing to ignore the implications of eating gluten.  I'm assuming she is a Silent Celiac.  A Silent Celiac will not have any obvious symptoms from eating gluten.  Unfortunately, she is still damaging herself every time she does this.  After the reading you have done I'm sure you now realize the myriad of complications and health issues she is inviting.  Please do talk to her about it.  Tell her the information you have read.  Stress to her the importance of a gluten free life. 

 

All the best to you.

 

Colleen

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Do you want kids? Women with active Celiac disease have problems having kids. Also, because Celiac is genetic, do you want a mom for your kids that doesn't think illnesses are a big deal? Maybe look at the univ of Chicago site and print a few things off and talk to her about it.

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/what-do-people-with-celiac-disease-die-of-to-increase-the-mortality-rate

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/why-does-celiac-disease-lead-to-fertility-problems-in-women-with-undiagnosed-celiac-disease

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maybe she just can't manage it or never had any support?  you are already gluten free, i am assuming that you cook, so feed her :)  maybe it's easier to walk into a restaurant with two people and say "WE need to have gluten free"  ya know what i mean?  if she does commit to it, i bet she feels a whole lot better - many people have had seemingly unrelated symptoms clear up when they stuck to the gluten-free diet.  i had vertigo, for example - my doctor(s) attributed it to allergies, one specialist said i had "small inner ear canals" but they couldn't cure it.  i am happy to say i haven't had any signs or dizzyness (except the usual lolz) since i have stayed gluten free.  she may be pleasantly surprised - not to mention she will probably have more energy :)  good luck!

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Yeah I would like to have kids one day.  What will happen to her if she continues to eat gluten?  Are there different degrees of celiac?

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Yeah I would like to have kids one day.  What will happen to her if she continues to eat gluten?  Are there different degrees of celiac?

Yes there are different degrees of sensitivity, but there is no such thing as a Celiac sufferer that isn't greatly harming themselves by continuing gluten consumption. You are right to be worried and a good man for taking the initiative to learn more. I don't know the specifics of your relationship but, if she trusts you it's time to talk to her about it.

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Yeah I would like to have kids one day.  What will happen to her if she continues to eat gluten?  Are there different degrees of celiac?

 

 

There are not different degrees of Celiac.  Its just that some people have more or worse symptoms than others.  Eating gluten is damaging all of them, whether they feel it or not. 

 

Sounds like she does have symptoms - headaches and fatigue are a couple of big ones.

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Yeah I would like to have kids one day.  What will happen to her if she continues to eat gluten?  Are there different degrees of celiac?

many of us (obviously who are female) have had miscarriages - i did, long before i was diagnosed.  she is lucky to have a diagnosis and be able to stay healthy and maybe avoid that. 

 

no different degrees of celiac - you can't eat gluten, period.  you can't be a little bit celiac, or exttremely celiac.  so, no "i can have just a little bit"  - and it doesn't go away, just symptoms go away as you heal :)

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Thanks for all your replies.  

 

We were lying down in silence tonight and her stomach was growling even worse than mine, so I brought up the celiac issue.  I told her if she doesn't treat it she may die younger than she otherwise should, and also suffer many health issues in the coming years.  She just laughed and she's not going to die on me.  She hasn't had any real issues from it yet, so I can understand why she's not too fussed.  I can't dictate anything to anyone so I guess I'll just need to wait and see how this all pans out. 

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Oh, that is tricky. Real tricky. I hate to hear when someone knows they're Celiac but won't stick to the diet, and you -who doesn't have it but know you need to be gluten-free for your health anyway- are on board. You should be perfect together! But only if she's willing to stop being in denial.

 

Maybe threatening death isn't the way to go. Maybe talk about how it might give her more energy, or stop the headaches, etc. Or emphasize that if would be easier for you if you were both gluten-free. And cook for her. Insist she comes to your place for dinner, try to show her that gluten-free isn't so bad. Convince her to stick to the diet for a week or a month or something, just to see if she's better.

 

I'm her age, and extremely grateful that I've caught this thing while I'm young, to avoid all the health problems my mom/aunts/uncles accumulated before being diagnosed. Going gluten free now will make her life better in the long run. Otherwise, it'll come back to haunt her, badly.

 

Good luck. If you care about her, keep at it. If she refuses, then I don't know. That's a personal decision, but I wouldn't want to be with someone who refuses to take care of their health.

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