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Hello all, I am obviously new here. I decided last night to do some research on this topic and was really surprised. I have not been 'officially' diagnosed, but I guess that is just a formality at this point. I guess a history would be helpful:

After the birth of my 2nd (and last) child almost 4 years ago (at age 31), my body basically fell apart. I suffered with chronic diarrhea and severe headaches for almost a year before going to the GI dr. I was using exederin migraine all that time. I had a colonoscopy, which came back normal. He said it was probably IBS. Ok. Exactly one year later (and with continued symptoms), I had 3 gallbladder attacks and ended up with my gallbladder removed. So of course, the diarrhea worsened. But so had the headaches. We ended up going the headache route and had CT scans, MRI, the works. They did find a meningioma (brain tumor), but it was so small and it such an insignificant location, there's no way that was the problem. I realized on my own the aspirin in the exederin was killing my stomach. Switched to excederin tension (no aspirin). Small improvement there. But after one of my worst flare ups, I lost about 10 lbs (over a couple of months). I can eat anything and never gain a pound. I also can't travel, eat out, leave the house within 2 hours of eating, and never ever know when it will hit. Sometimes immediately, sometimes the next day. Sometimes a food was ok, others it was a disaster. That was the confusing part. I could never find the offending food. In June, my GP did some blood work and decided to run a gluten sensitivity test, almost as an afterthought. When I saw him again a month later, he mentioned that it had showed a "weak positive", but that I could test again and it might be negative. Not really concerned. I basically dismissed it too. Then last night I started researching. I did not know that this disease causes damage to the intestines. I thought if the symptoms were tolerable, no need to go gluten-free. Wow, what an eye-opener this board has been. Every symptom I have is on the list provided on another post. I suspect I also have residual bile salts diarrhea from not having a gallbladder, which is complicating things even more. I never know when, and a simple sip of water can trigger it. I suppose I should be retested. I don't know what he ran to show a positive or negative, but I see that there are 4 different blood tests. Can someone tell me exactly what they are? Whatever I request, he will run it. He is extremely cooperative and does his best to help. I just want to be able to tell him exactly what I want done. Any other thought or suggestions would be wonderful too. Thank you! :(

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Hi there!

First, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for all of the suffering you've been through these past 4 years. No one deserves to spend that much time in misery. Based on your symptoms, it would definitely be logical to suspect Celiac disease. I'm not sure if you have read this yet or not, but it is believed that in genetically susceptible individuals, the onset of Celiac disease can be triggered by pregnancy (I'm not sure exactly why...it may be the stresses that pregnancy places on the body, or hormone fluctuations...in any case, pregnancy is recognized as a common time for celiac disease onset). So your story really is consistant with what is referred to as "classic" Celiac disease.

As far as the tests go, I don't have a medical degree or anything, but I did attend a recent consensus conference at the National Institute of Health aimed at developing a uniform public health policy regarding screening, testing, diagosis, and treatment of Celiac disease. One of the topics covered was the various serological tests used for diagonsis. There were actually 5 blood tests that were mentioned, including:

AGA-IgG (antigliadin antibodies, IgG class)

AGA-IgA (antigliadin antibodies, IgA class)

EMA-IgA (endomysium antibody, IgA class)

TTG-IgA (tissue transglutaminase antibody, IgA class)

ARA (antireticulin antibody, IgA class)

The researcher who presented on the blood tests concluded that the two tests of the five mentioned above with the best sensitivity and specificity are the EMA-IgA and TTG-IgA. So if you are going to tell your doctor which test to perform, the current research indicates that you should pick one of these two. Regardless of which you pick, you should also tell him to check your total IgA levels because 1 in 300-400 people are IgA deficient. In IgA deficient individuals, both of these tests can produce a false negative (since they measure levels of Ig-A class antibodies).

If the bloodwork does come back positive, it is necessary for you to have an endoscopy performed by a GI doctor so that biopsies of your small intestine can be taken to check for abnormalities consistant with celiac disease. The description of the procedure frightened me when I read it, but doctors typically give an anesthetic that induces a "twilight sleep," so I didn't experience anything more than a slight sore throat.

Anyway, I'm on my way out so I've got to wrap up this post now, but I hope this information helped. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any more questions. I wish you the best of luck in your search for the source of your symptoms.

~Wish

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Thank you so much! That is the exact info I needed. I've spent a couple of days now researching the gluten-free diet, just to try and prepare myself for the changes I know will be ahead. I personally have no doubt that this is celiac disease. I vaguely remember my exMIL going through the diarrhea and weight loss for a long time and then finding out that it was celiac disease. Her mother also had it. That has been in the back of my head for a while now. I should have been a little more aggresive investigating it, but like I said-I had no idea the devastation caused by the disease. I thought it was only inconvience. Boy, was I wrong. I'll be calling my dr. Monday to set up one of the sets that you listed. And thank you again!

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Hello again! I'm hoping Wish will find this again, or maybe someone who can tell me what this means. I went today with the list provided by Wish to get more blood drawn for additional tests (I had no idea what test he had done). Everything tested well within normal limits except the AGA-IgA, and it was only 23 (20-30 indicates a weak positive). He is going to do more testing, including the ones mentioned by Wish (the 2 that are recommended). So does this mean anything to anyone? Or not until I have more info on the other tests? I won't have those back until Friday at the earliest. Thanks for any help you can give!

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Another test that is needed is Total IgA. Some individuals (as many as 1 in 500) are IgA deficient and do not produce tTG. Apparently is possible to have positive Anti-Gliadin antibodies (IgA) and still be IgA deficient.

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    • Hi, you can try reporting your own post.  That should alert the site admin of your request.  I don't think they can delete your posts, but changing your user name may be possible.
    • Hi Pablito, Welcome to the forum! You are right, you should keep eating gluten  until the tests are all done.  The skin problems you describe ma be a condition only celiacs get.  The condition is called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH for short),  DH causes an itchy rash that is usually symetrical on the body.  You get the rash on both arms or legs etc.  It makes little blisters on the skin.  They are caused by IgA antibodies in the skin.  There i a test for DH where they take a small skin sample (biopsy) from the skin next to a blister and check it for IgA antibodies.   If they find DH, then you have celiac disease.  The 2 conditions are never separate.  there is a section of this forum dedicated to dermatitis herpetiformis with lots more information. The usual diagnostic process is to do a celiac antibodies blood test first, and then an endoscopy to test for damage to the gut lining.  But with DH, it is better to get the skin biopsy done instead of the endoscopy. Celiac disease is passed on in genes, so your children should be tested also if you are diagnosed.
    • Research Celiac Ataxia for potential diagnosis. Look at Milk and dairy for potential head and sinus related issues.  I stopped dairy and I can breathe now! Saturated fat may also be a problem, but it's mostly dairy!
    • It is best not to try and do this on your own. Talk to your allergist. Not all will deal with food intolerances but if yours doesn't find one who will.  Mine had me fill out a very detailed diet questionaire and tested for true allergies before he gave me my starting point. I will admit I wasn't real happy with my starting point since none of my usual foods were on it. He said that I was most likely to react to foods I ate the most so most of the 5 I either rarely ate or didn't really like. The prescribed starting point he formulated was designed to make sure I had adaquate nutrition and enough calories.   It took about 2 weeks before a lot of my tummy issues resolved and I was then able to start adding foods in one at a time for a week before moving on to the next.  He said food intolerance reactions can take up to a week to show up so I had to be sure it was a full week between food additions. I did have to call three offices before I found a doctor who could do the formulation of the diet but this guy truely saved my life. Out of all the doctors I had seen, including specialists in big hospitals, he was the one responsible for finally realizing I was celiac. He of course referred me back to my clueless GI doctor who confirmed the diagnosis by almost killing me with a gluten challenge. I should note that some of my intolerance (not gluten of course) did resolve after I had healed. Even dairy which I hadn't been able to have for years! I hope you can get some answers and are able to heal soon.
    • I'm 43 years old. I'm married and have two teen daughters. After all these years it was one of my daughters who tonight said to me: "you probably have Celiac disease" after hearing my wife and I talking about all the pimples I always get on my arms. I never heard of the disease but I have heard about a lot of people having gluten allergies and didn't know they were the same thing. So I started looking it up on the internet. Turns out I have had all the symptoms all my life and no one has ever said anything about it possibly being Celiac disease. When I was a kid my doctor gave me prescriptions to antibacterial soaps to use for the arm pimples. Hibitane I think was one of them. And I've always had swollen looking ankles as long as I can remember. All my life people have noticed it. As a kid and teen I played lot's of sports and have broken my ankles and sprained them so my mom and I brushed it off at that and so did my family doctor when I was young.  But I always thought it was weird that the swelling continued all these years.  I have had a bloated feeling stomach all my life too and chronic diarrhea. My stomach is always hard and swollen feeling. Not ever knowing what that stuff was related too so I have never mentioned the bloat or diarrhea to a doctor. Just kind of embarrassing I guess. As my wife and I were reading about Celiac Disease on the internet together tonight she pointed out to me that that's probably why these symptoms almost all went away when I did a very low carb diet for about a year straight to lose weight a couple years ago. I had solid bowel movements, no bloat, ankle swelling went down but I thought the improvements were from weight loss and just eating healthier . But perhaps in reality it probably had a lot more to do with not eating all the wheat products/gluten products. So tomorrow I will be seeing my doctor to talk to him about it and to ask for the blood tests. I have read that I should continue eating gluten though until my testing is done. So that is crappy but I guess it's better to know for sure. Something else I think I should point out too is that I get headaches quite a bit after having big meals. Now I am thinking that may have something to do with the gluten too. I have read that some people with Celiac also get headaches with the other symptoms. It's great to see there is a forum like this to help people out with these issues. If I test positive for Celiac I will for sure be following this forum closely for advice and diet/nutrition help.
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