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Gluten / Wheat Sensitivity But No Wheat Allergy?


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#1 sptx1

 
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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:41 AM

OK....new forum member here with my first post!

I am a 41 y.o. male with a long, long history of symptoms that I am now believing have always related to wheat (gluten?) sensitivity and associated malabsorption. In summary, here are the highlights:

always a VERY skinny and underweight kid.....skinny arms and legs, bigger abdomen. Looking back, I was malnourished!

terrible allergies (severe eczema, dry skin, food allergies, hay fever, etc.) throughout childhood....weekly allergy shots for years, on steroids and powerful antihistimines for years, saw allergist monthly, special diets all the time as a little kid, etc.

frequent stomach aches as a child, and actually hospitalized for a week at age 13 due to mysterious chronic stomach ailment that caused severe pain, vomiting, etc. Many tests run at the time (1980?), but no diagnosis other than "stress" (but I don't recall being stressed!).

always anxious and irritable as a child....this sprialed downward by college and into adulthood into clinical depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorder, which continued in one form or another to the present

chronic sinusitus and allergic rhinitis, all of my life.

occasional "irritable bowel syndrome" over the years....i.e., a month of diarrhea, a month of constipation, then all "back to normal"

weird undiagnosed neurological symptoms (parasthesias, etc.) over the years

As I said, just a summary. I could go on and on. But, anyway, I began to suspect I had a "grain sensitivity" probably 10 years ago. Whenever I would drink beer, my sinuses would immediately close up. After a big spaghetti meal, I was wiped out. I was thinking wheat was the culprit. A few years ago, I gave up carbs as part of Atkins, and I really REALLY started feeling better. For whatever reason, I went back to them after a while.

OK, now the main point of my post.....I finally (a few years back) decided to visit an allergist, after not having seen one for 25 years. When tested, I was so highly allergic to EVERYTHING that they even called other doctors into the room to see my skin reactivity test to the various test!! They said not even allergy shots would help me. But guess what......the ONLY food that I was NOT allergic to was WHEAT!

Fast forward to today, and I again believe there is SOME sort of link with wheat. But, the doc said I'm not allergic to it. I eliminate it anyway (this month) and all sorts of wonderful things have happened! My skin has cleared up, I have stopped snoring, my sleep apnea is going away, and for once in my life I can breath out of my nose! My hair is even improved! Not only that, but I feel less "inflammed" (it's hard to describe), and have even eaten some foods recently that I am highly allergic to (normally), with NO reaction!

So.....my question is, what the heck is going on here?? I KNOW this isn't my imagination. I was told I had NO allergic reaction to wheat when tested, but when I give it up I feel so much better! It's true I have had some (well, a lot of, actually) questionable things occur in my past with my digestive tract that would make someone think of celiac, but I have also gone for LONG period with what seems like fairly normal digestion.

Whatever it is, I can't see going back to wheat (and barley, and rye). There is SOMETHING to all of this! Am I finally absorbing my nutrients? Was my gut inflammed due to wheat for years and years, so much so that I became "immune" to registering an allergic response to it? Just weird!
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#2 missy'smom

 
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Posted 26 February 2008 - 10:41 AM

Welcome,
I'm not good with the scientific explanations so maybe someone else will. But, the simple answer is wheat allergy and celiac disease are different things. Those with celiac disease won't test positive through allergy testing unless they have celiac disease AND wheat allergy. There is a reason why they call it a disease and not an allergy. I hear the term "gluten allery" alot lately but it doesn't exist. Alot of us with celiac disease say we have "wheat allergy" because it's easier for people to understand.

It does sound like you have may have celiac disease. If you want to test for it you can have a blood test but there are some problems with false negatives so be educated about it. The most conclusive test is a biopsy of the small intestine. But you need to be eating gluten for it to be most accurate. If you go gluten-free it will possibly change the results.
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Me: GLUTEN-FREE 7/06, multiple food allergies, T2 DIABETES DX 8/08, LADA-Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, Who knew food allergies could trigger an autoimmune attack on the pancreas?! 1/11 Re-DX T1 DM, pos. DQ2 Celiac gene test 9/11
Son: ADHD '06,
neg. CELIAC PANEL 5/07
ALLERGY: "positive" blood and skin tests to wheat, which triggers his eczema '08
ENTEROLAB testing: elevated Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA Dec. '08
Gluten-free-Feb. '09
other food allergies

#3 Nancym

 
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Posted 26 February 2008 - 11:13 AM

Allergies are not the same thing as intolerances. Allergies involve IgE immune thingies and intolerances involve IgA immune thingies. Other differences are: Allergies are generally fast acting and can be very severe to life-threatening shortly after you eat. Intolerances may take 24 hours or more to show up as they might not affect you until they get further into your digestive tract. Intolerances might or might not cause severe symptoms right away but they do cumulative damage over time. The effects of an intolerance probably lingers longer too.
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