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Severe Abdominal Pain
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Hi everyone, I am 12 weeks post-partum today. My baby was delivered by a C-section and ever since her birth I have been experience a number of health issues. I was finally admitted to the hospital two weeks ago for hydration and a multitude of (not so fun) tests performed by a GI doctor. They did a blood test for Celiac Sprue and my IgA was 44.8 and my IgG was 184.5. I go in for a biopsy next Tuesday to confirm whether or not I truly have Celiac.

My question is, has anyone had severe abdominal pain as a symptom? My pain started about 6 weeks ago and on a pain scale of 1-10 it was a definite 10. At one point I even begged my husband to put me out of my misery because the pain was so bad!!! The pain is like someone lit my stomach on fire starting at my belly button and going straight up about 4 inches. It then moves over to the left hand side right under my rigcage, but the pain is different there, kind of raw and tender.

The pain has been constant but not as severe even since going gluten-free. However, on Tuesday night our neighborhood had a national night out party and I must have eaten something I shouldn't have because I woke up in horrible pain on Wednesday. Is this severe pain a normal symptom of celiac sprue? I have seen abdominal pain listed as symptom, but is the severity I am experiencing normal or should my doctor and I be looking for other causes?

Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated, I can't handle the pain anymore!!!

Thanks,

Carrie Strong

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Hi Carrie:

I had hoped someone else who had blood tests would respond to your post by now. I had Enterolab stool test analyses to diagnose my celiac sensitivities to gluten and casein, so I can't interpret your results. However, your results seem pretty high (positive) to me.

Yes, abdominal pain is right up there with diarrhea and constipation as a celiac symptom. See this website's "Site Index" for FAQs and the answer to "What are the symptoms?". I mainly had the third (steatorrhea), fourth (abdominal pain) and fifth (excessive gas) symptoms. Occasionally I had constipation but rarely diarrhea. YES, my abdominal pain was EXCRUCIATING. It went from slight to chronic to excruciating over a 10 year period when I was consuming more gluten (esp. wheat bran cereals and whole wheat recommended for 'IBS' symptoms). HOWEVER, my pains were more often in the intestinal area. The worst felt like bits of broken glass slowly moving through my intestines. Sometimes I felt like something was inside my intestines trying to tear its way out. I also experience what feels like severe menstrual cramps, but I finished menopause 7 years ago. :huh: I get those symptoms everytime I accidentally consume gluten, casein or soy (mostly the cramps with the last 2). After about a week of avoiding those, all the pain disappears (until my next 'accident' :o).

Nevertheless, everyone's experiences of celiac symptoms are different. So your area of pain may just be unique to you. When my pain is really bad, it sometimes radiates up into my stomach area and even up my back to my shoulder blades. I also feel the pain move (perhaps as the offending food moves through my intestines) from right to left side of my intestines. After an 'accident' or painful episode, my intestines feel raw and tender when any food passes through for about a day or two. However, avoiding any foods to which I'm sensitive right now (esp. acidic foods and soy) as well as those to which I have diagnosed intolerances (gluten and casein) helps make that pain disappear.

I'm not sure whether your doctor told you to consume gluten before the biopsy, but if avoiding gluten relieves the pain, that's a pretty good indicator (plus those blood test results) that you have celiac. Hopefully someone else with pain in a similar area and someone who can help you interpret those blood tests will also post comments here. :)

BURDEE

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Carrie,

I'd see your doctor, to be on the safe side. Things like gallstones aren't uncommon after a pregnancy. Hope you feel better soon.

Gretchen

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Severe pain was one of my main symptoms off and on for about 2 years. There would be times I couldnt move or get out of bed....I had blood results similar to yours and your IGG is actually higher. Your doctor should run a ttg test which is the most sensitive and specific of all the celiac blood tests. Also, make sure they take a sufficient number of slides and that they are reviewed by someone who is familiar with celiacs.

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Looking back on it, I think my celiac symptoms started when I first got pregnant. I think pregnancy is one of the triggers for celiacs. But after the birth everything just hit the fan. I couldn't keep weight on and I was always sick, etc. I had all of the symptoms and no doctor who would help. I was labeled with IBS, told it was all in my head, etc.

I had the lower abdominal pain for almost 10 years (from first hospitalization) and after two surgeries for it I know my pain is adhessions. The odd part is that since going gluten-free I have not had the adhession pain again. Adhessions are like gumbands that connect the wrong parts of your body together. The first surgery found adhessions connecting my colon to my hip and the pain nearly killed me. The second surgery, about 5 years later, found more adhessions. The adhessions start growing after a surgery or infection, and are common with endometriosis. (I was checked for that too). Recovering from the surgery involves the gas working its way out of your system, and that was the most terrible pain I have ever felt. It settled under my should blades. The only help is to more around even though it feels like you are going to die.

Another source of serious pain in my stomach area was "gastroparesis". (right between the ribs where the soft skin is) My stomach fails to empty. That causes pain too.

The final one was the gall bladder (just near/under you ribs) also failed to empty.

So after the removal of the gallbladder, and the adhessions, they found the celiacs. Now I feel much better on the gluten-free diet. Many people feel removal of the gallbladder is a bad idea. For me, everything has worked out great!

Be sure to check about your eating gluten-free when you have an endoscopy coming up. If your intestines have started to heal, they will not see anything wrong during the test.

FYI: If your child has colic, is always fussy, etc, and you are breast feeding you may be having a problem producing enough milk for the baby while your intestines are suffering through Celiacs. My daughter had sever colic for around 7 months. Years later when I found out I had celiacs I think a lot of her pain may have been from my body not working right. I was dropping massive amounts of weight when she was trying to breast feed. She gained weight, but was alwasy sickly. So if that is the case for you, you may want to consider suppliementing with formula and see if that helps that baby.

Good luck it gets better eventually!

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Thank you to all who replied to me. I appreciate all your advice and insight. I go today for my endoscopy/biopsy. I have been gluten-free for two weeks so hopefully it will not affect the results too much, but I am really scared to eat anything with Gluten in it because of the pain.

hapi2bgf - Thanks for the advice on breastfeeding. I actually just had to give it up because of a new medication I am on, and I really miss it! :( I am keeping my fingers crossed that my daughter won't develop Celiac.

Thanks again to all who replied!

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