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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      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 Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can 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-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is 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 Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Anyone Ever Diagnosed With Somatization Disorder?
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7 posts in this topic

I was wondering if anyone else had been diagnosed with Somatization Disorder before they actually found out that they had food intolerances. I guess the qualifying requirements for a diagnosis are "vague" complaints of pain, neurological, gastro problems, food intolerances, for which there is no known or found cause. I just received that diagnosis from my GP despite the handful of positive food intolerance reports from Enterolab. I don't know how I will ever get that Somatization label off of my medical record. That diagnosis just seems like a convenience when they don't know or want to understand what is wrong with you.

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If the doc is a private doc, just change doctors and don't have those records sent to the new one.

My local doc told me I had somatization disorder, though she didn't call it that. She said that I had psychological issues I wasn't even aware of that were causing me to be sick. She maintained this was the case even after my postive Lyme Disease test!

I obviously go to a different doctor for treatment!

Since Enterolab hasn't published yet, most doctors won't accept their tests as a diagnosis. Since you can go gluten-free without a doctor's supervision, I just wouldn't mention it to them. If it does come up, just keep it simple and say gluten makes you feel bad, you feel better off it. This is how I handle the gluten intolerance with doctors.

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This definitely happened to me. I was diagnosed with Anxiety, Somatization, Narcissistic Personality Trait disorders and now years later..... Celiac Disease. Going gluten-free has definitely helped, and now you have to learn to live with it because it's not going away any time soon.

If a doctor tells you it's in your head - go to a new doctor.

If a doctor tells you it's fibromyalgia - go to a new doctor.

If a doctor tells you it's stress - go to a new doctor.

If a doctor tells you it's anxiety - go to a new doctor.

DO Get counseling from a local source.... it helps immensely.

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So, here's the thing... Stress CAN cause these symptoms, and fibromyalgia isn't just a myth.

A psychologist I saw for a long time suggested somatization for me - and she's right. It's fairly clear; during times of particularly high stress during a few years, the tendonitis in my wrists would get significantly worse. And there is perfectly reasonable physiologic explanation for this response as well

I have a fibromyalgia diagnosis, and I got it long after going strictly gluten free (and dairy free). Also chronic migraines. And when I was laid off from my stressful job, I felt a lot better, and still do. Some of it *is* a stress response - stress makes significant changes to body chemistry and the use of the nervous system (stress biologically shuts down the digestive system) and chronic stress causes very long term changes to body chemistry and brain chemistry. (I highly suggest reading "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" for a thorough, though lay, discussion of the medical effects of chronic stress.)

I'm not saying that doctors always give the right diagnosis, or that they don't make assumptions about "things being all in your head". But somatization IS real, as is fibromyalgia (if only as a "we don't know what is causing it" sort of thing; it's not always gluten or food, though it may well be for some people), stress DOES cause real physical problems that need to be addressed, and anxiety is real as well. So just ignoring all of those things will do you a disservice.

And I want to be very clear about one thing regarding the stress issue, because I went through it and I see it every week with my yoga students. Chronic stress does cause very real physical symptoms for many, many people. And the stress can be addressed and handled, but - quite frankly - most people do not want to take the steps necessary to eliminate that stress. It usually means taking things out of your life (fewer obligations) or changing jobs or making other significant lifestyle changes that most of us don't want to make. And so, we blow off the "stress" idea because addressing it is too big of a change. And so doctors through it out like a "it's stress, there's nothing we can do" because they see their patients do this.

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I think there's also the fact that we tend to assume that a) "stress causes disease" as synonym with B) "if the cause is stress, then it's not a disease." Which, if you think about it, is a case of leaky logic. It's either a) or B). Does managing stress improve your condition? Why, yes. You can manage symptoms. Does going through a stressful moment exacerbate it? Of course.

I think that when a doctor uses "it's just stress" when they really mean "you're an hypochondriac nuisance," it is a sign of a poor physician. Not only they fail Logic 101 (see above), but they also seem stuck in a ridiculous para-Platonic notion of mind VS body. In which case, they probably slept through neurology and a bunch of other stuff. And heaven knows what the other stuff they slept through was.

Personally, when I hear "stress," I get scared. They treated dad for stress - he had a life-threatening aneurism. They treated me for stress - I have thyroid disorders. Get yourself together, docs!

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I agree with Chaser 100%. While irritable bowel syndrome, stress, somatization, fibromyalgia, anxiety and many other 'bucket' diagnoses are all legitimate descriptions of various conditions, most of them are not very helpful to the patient.

Stress, as Tarnalberry says, is something you can do something about if you are aware of it or made aware, and motivated if it is an applicable diagnosis. Most of us have a pretty good idea of whether we are under stress or not.

I was diagnosed myself with fibromyalgia, but once all the other issues I had going on (recovering from injuries sustained in a head-on auto accident) were resolved, I no longer had fibromyalgia. And yes, I did have all the trigger points, but I had many others that were just as painful in other places that are not classic fibro. And the Elavil they prescribed me for sleep made me depressed and none of the recommendations worked for me. So I believe it was just a gratuitous diagnosis in my case, although I was clutching at straws at the time.

Irritable bowel syndrome is just a case of the doctor admitting he doesn't have a clue why the patient has gastrointestinal distress.

Many people are anxious, but unless you can determine whether it is metabolic, neurologic, psychologic, situational, or personality disorder, and offer appropriate treatment / support, the diagnosis in and of itself doesn't do the patient any good.

Somatization would appear to be a subjective judgment on the part of the doctor and may or may not have validity. Certainly, if you are under stress and tension, it can affect your physical functioning and cause strain on the tensed parts of the body. But I would want some pretty clear analysis before I accepted this as a diagnosis.

For me, a diagnosis needs to be helpful to the patient in dealing with the condition. On most occasions I have seen these diagnoses used and 'treated', there has not been a lot of help for the patient. Just my very humble opinion.

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Irritable bowel syndrome is just a case of the doctor admitting he doesn't have a clue why the patient has gastrointestinal distress.

For me, a diagnosis needs to be helpful to the patient in dealing with the condition. On most occasions I have seen these diagnoses used and 'treated', there has not been a lot of help for the patient. Just my very humble opinion.

#1 is right on. Which is linked to #2.

Bad doctors are just like bad dates: they're only comfortable when the person in front of them is 'ticking all the boxes.' And if she/he doesn't then they accuse them of drama. :huh:

I now consider myself lucky to have a team of doctors that feel OK with the possibility their patient may be sick, but they can't figure out why, or that the patient has something that medicine has not yet wrapped its head around, or that the patient's body may simply have its own individual quirks.

But I do see why some people might prefer an IBS diagnosis or some feel good pill over "your bloodwork shows a condition that usually behaves so and so, but it may not as well, because it is a very unpredictable condition; it may develop in a month, years, or never; you have sensitivities that will force you to a rotational diet for life and that may change over time; oh, by the way, those you have are certainly allergic reactions, but the variables that cause them may be too complex to reproduce in a lab; after all, we have totally no idea why are you alive and functioning, so that fits the pattern." So either I am a medical wonder, or stuff just works that way. Or, as my oncologist used to say: "medicine is not a science, it's an art."

Something like that forces the patience to feel the disease rather than be the disease, because you need to pay constant attention to the signals of your body, rather than sticking to a protocol. And modern society is precisely predicated on body and mind not talking to each other.

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