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Night-time Abdominal Pain
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Hi Everyone,

I am a new member. I started following a gluten-free diet about 1 year ago. I seem to have made every classic mistake in dealing with this health issue. First of all, I started a gluten-free diet prior to my small bowel biopsy and blood work therefore I do not have a definitive diagnosis. Also, I have tried to reintroduce gluten a number of times throughout the year with disastrous results.

Just wanted to ask other members if their gluten intolerance symptoms cause them to wake-up from their sleep. I usually fall asleep for an hour or two and then wake-up with pretty awful abdominal pain and bloating. The bloating is often so bad that it presses on my diaphragm and triggers tachycardia. I have had tachycardia since I was 13 years old (due to an extra electrical pathway in my heart). Some nights the pain is already very bad when I go to bed and sleep is just not possible. I have a lot of what I think is pain from my lower bowel (spasms, cramping, bloating, feeling like I've been totally pressurized and may soon blow up). Perhaps the best description may be a feeling that my bowel is partially obstructed. It can be very, very painful.

I am lactose intolerant and have IgE tested allergies to a variety of foods including eggs, barley, beef, pork and so on.

Look forward to hearing if others have any similar experiences. Does your abdominal pain keep you awake at night?

Thanks so much

EJR

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Hi EJR,

Have you ever tried taking an H2 antihistamine before bedtime like Pepcid or Zantac? That might help with your symptoms while you're trying to find the cause. H1 antihistamines (Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl, etc...) help with the classic "allergy" symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, hives, etc... but the H2 antihistamines can help with mast-cell related symptoms in your GI system, nervous system, cardio-vascular system, bones and joints, etc...

It's a long explanation as to why this might work, but antihistamines are pretty safe and sold OTC. It might be worth a try.

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If I have been glutened, it is impossible to sleep from the pain. I will have to run to the bathroom at some point too.

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When glutened the nights are THE WORST! BIG left side pain, bloating to the point I feel I can't breathe and NO relief until sometime in the morrow when, if lucky, I'll start to have a bowel movement. (sorry to be graphic but, there it is...) My left hip is usually in agony as well and I am not talking about discomfort, I mean PAIN! This can persist for days... I am AFRAID of gluten.

Hope you get some relief,

lisa

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Hi 'Mother of Jibril'

Thank you so much for your response and suggestion. Unfortunately I have tried both Pepci and Zantac and they don't seem to help me. Zantac also affects my heart problem. I didn't know about the H2 antihistamine explanation that you wrote. I appreciate it very much and may have to think again about trying these.

EJR

Hi EJR,

Have you ever tried taking an H2 antihistamine before bedtime like Pepcid or Zantac? That might help with your symptoms while you're trying to find the cause. H1 antihistamines (Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl, etc...) help with the classic "allergy" symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, hives, etc... but the H2 antihistamines can help with mast-cell related symptoms in your GI system, nervous system, cardio-vascular system, bones and joints, etc...

It's a long explanation as to why this might work, but antihistamines are pretty safe and sold OTC. It might be worth a try.

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When glutened the nights are THE WORST! BIG left side pain, bloating to the point I feel I can't breathe and NO relief until sometime in the morrow when, if lucky, I'll start to have a bowel movement. (sorry to be graphic but, there it is...) My left hip is usually in agony as well and I am not talking about discomfort, I mean PAIN! This can persist for days... I am AFRAID of gluten.

Hope you get some relief,

lisa

Hi Lisa,

Boy, am I ever glad to have received your response. I'm not glad that you also suffer this kind of pain, but I was starting to wonder if I was the only one that was often severely bothered at nighttime with the bloating and abdominal pain. I also feel it in my hip area and in my lower back.

You mentioned sometimes starting to get some relief towards morning. This also happens for me quite often (for me that is when I am finally able to release some of the painful, trapped gas).

Have you found anything that helps you at night when you feel like this? Do your symptoms sometimes occur even when you have avoided gluten? How long have you been gluten free? Did your symptoms abate fairly quickly after starting to eat gluten free or was it a slow, gradual kind of healing?

Thank you so very, very much for your response.

Joyce

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If I have been glutened, it is impossible to sleep from the pain. I will have to run to the bathroom at some point too.

Hi Mommida,

Thank you for sharing this with me. As I mentioned I was starting to think that I was the only one with nighttime abdominal pain that makes sleep impossible. Does this only happen to you if you have been glutened or does it happen at other times also.

Thanks again,

Joyce

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Joyce,

I have been gluten free for going on 5 years but, prior to diagnosis, I was in so much agony at night I was certain I had something quite bad. If I ingest even the most negligible amount of gluten I will get that hideous bloat and trapped gas and PAIN! It feels like someone filled my whole insides with cement and, sadly, no, nothing seems to help except time. However, I will tell you I am not a fan of taking medication (never have been- pretty naturopathic French and Greek family passed on my suspicion of the pharmaceutical industry...)

I almost never eat out, eat almost NO processed food and eat only whole foods made by myself or Michael. Sometimes I will get the symptoms you describe (along with some other fun ones...) and not know where they came from. I've kept a food log every day for 4 years and it has been a very useful thing- I highly recommend it. And for two years I was gluten, soy, nightshades, eggs, dairy, legume and citrus free. I am now able to eat dairy, whole corn and nightshades, corn and eggs but I continue to avoid soy along with gluten. Also avoid at all costs any "fake" sugar like sorbitol. Oh yeah, and no high fructose corn syrup.

Here are some things I eat: Steak, fish, chicken, cabot cheddar cheese, Fage Greek yogurt, all veggies but no white potatoes (cooking helps at first), raw sugar, fruits (bananas are very good), Tinkyada pasta, cabot butter, sweet potatoes, Planter's cashews,almonds and macadamia nuts, corn on the cob, occasionally coffee with milk, occasional Larabar, homemade jams and Lundberg rice cakes.

Hope this helps. It DOES take time- nearly 2 years before I got things right. Trust your gut- if you hear hoofbeats think "horses"- that's what I remind myself when wondering if I could have been glutened. If it acts like gluten, it's probably gluten.

Take care,

lisa

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You've had some great replies here and I just wanted to say that when my 9 year old daughter is glutened, the night time abdominal pain is probably her first and worst symptom. Intially her stomach will hurt just below the ribs, then she'll feel the pressure and the need to use the bathroom (usually without much result). If it's bad enough she will cry and say, "Mom--my back hurts!". Before diagnosis this would involve diarhea and vomiting, but now it will usually be constipation. And the strangest thing of all is the sleepwalking! If she ingests even a microscopic amount of gluten she will sleep walk with absolutely no memory of it. Her symptoms always seem to start right around bed time, but I can sometimes see it in her face hours before it starts--it's like a puffiness and dark circles under her eyes.

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Hi Everyone,

I am a new member. I started following a gluten-free diet about 1 year ago. I seem to have made every classic mistake in dealing with this health issue. First of all, I started a gluten-free diet prior to my small bowel biopsy and blood work therefore I do not have a definitive diagnosis. Also, I have tried to reintroduce gluten a number of times throughout the year with disastrous results.

Just wanted to ask other members if their gluten intolerance symptoms cause them to wake-up from their sleep. I usually fall asleep for an hour or two and then wake-up with pretty awful abdominal pain and bloating. The bloating is often so bad that it presses on my diaphragm and triggers tachycardia. I have had tachycardia since I was 13 years old (due to an extra electrical pathway in my heart). Some nights the pain is already very bad when I go to bed and sleep is just not possible. I have a lot of what I think is pain from my lower bowel (spasms, cramping, bloating, feeling like I've been totally pressurized and may soon blow up). Perhaps the best description may be a feeling that my bowel is partially obstructed. It can be very, very painful.

I am lactose intolerant and have IgE tested allergies to a variety of foods including eggs, barley, beef, pork and so on.

Look forward to hearing if others have any similar experiences. Does your abdominal pain keep you awake at night?

Thanks so much

EJR

Hi EJR-

I have only had the blood testing done thus far and it was neg. But my 6yr old DD had Biopsy and bloodwork done and her bloodwork was neg. as well. So I don't have a formal diagnosis. However my night time symptoms are keeping me up most nights until 2am. My symptoms are nausea, my stomach feels like it just won't stop churning and popping and cramping, and then I also become very gassy. I did just get a prescription for something to help with the upset stomach but I am not we'll see. It seemed to help last night. .

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