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Is A Long Recovery Normal?
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During late October last year, I started to feel kind of spacey and disconnected all the time with bouts of crushing fatigue that would last a few days at a time. I

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Sounds like you have the classic neurological symptoms associated with celiac: brain fog, possibly depression, and what's called "peripheral neuropathy" which describes the pain and tingling in your hands.

I've been asking myself the same question now going on 3 and 1/2 months gluten free, but I haven't found an answer. Celiac and the recovery process are different for everyone. I have noticed, reading these boards and Dr. Peter Green's book, that the neurological symptoms take longer to recede. Hang in there!

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I've heard that it can take some time to recover. Some people also notice something called 'gluten withdrawal,' which seems to have some similarity to your symptoms, but I haven't experienced it myself. Hopefully someone here will say what that was like for them. :-)

As for me, when I went gluten free and immediately started feeling spacey, foggy headed, and other symptoms, it turned out to be food allergies and sensitivities that had never been diagnosed until then. Some of them don't show up on any test as a problem, but since going on an elimination diet to see how I did and avoiding the foods that seemed bad, ALL the bad stuff went away.

I had so many things I reacted to that I felt bad all the time. I had a lot of nerve pain in my back and hands and feet, as well - turns out I get it when I eat corn (It's in iodized salt, almost any powder...it's everywhere, I swear. I had to go to a corn allergy site to find all the sources in my diet). I have since met many people with allergies, and a number of us have no hives, no itching, but pain and nerve problems (from inflammation) and fatigue and feel spacey and out of it.

If it helps, this is what I did that helped me out. I dropped the 8 most common food allergens from my diet. I kept a food log of what I ate and how I felt. What I WISH I'd done was eat the exact same diet for 2-3 days in a row, and then change to a completely different diet, with not one thing in common(not even salt or oil), for the next 2-3 days. It helps space out reactions so you can see if you are having any, because some are delayed for 24 hours or so, if it involves an intolerance. Eliminating the 8 allergens was how I found corn, because the other reactions spaced out enough that I finally started to notice the pattern.

Also, right now, whenever I GET a bad food, my kidneys hurt. We don't know why, although the docs are wondering if perhaps it's simply inflammation. Perhaps similar with the bladder? :unsure:

But for the bladder? I would mention that to doc - sometimes, there can be issues with our organs from our vitamin deficiencies after all this time, so it's worth being careful about!

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Sorry you feel so rotten. Has your doctor made sure your thyroid is working properly? Spacey/tired can be a sign of hypothryoidism, which tends to go with celiac disease.

The neural problems are slower to go away. Some folks with neuro issues notice they have to be super-strict with the diet. The other thing you may want to do is pick up some sublingual vitamin B12 and a high-quality multivitamin. A lot of celiacs have low B12 and it can really mess with your mind and nervous system, including making you tired and spacey.

The blood test IS reliable and you need to be off gluten to keep from developing osteoporosis, other autoimmune problems, and possibly intestinal cancer no matter whether you feel much different off it. I really hope your symptoms start to resolve.

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Thanks for your comments everyone, it

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I went to see my doctor this morning; I talked to her a bit more about my bladder problems and she agreed to refer me to a urologist. I brought up the fact that I was still feeling tired after two months of the diet and the Thyroid and B12 suggestions. As it turns out, those things were already tested when I had my blood test and were fine, so I guess I can

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I'm in kind of a similar situation as you. I've been diagnosed with celiac 2 1/2 months ago and have been on the gluten-free diet since then. But I haven't felt much better. I heard that the people who do feel better really fast often have the stomach problems. I have acid reflux, but other than that, no stomach problems.

I, too, suffer from anxiety and some depression and ocd. But this runs in nearly everyone on my mom's side of the family.

I also feel really tired all the time, have restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, insomnia. To a lesser degree, I have back problems, acne, easy bruising, frequent nose bleeds, frequent yeast infections, sinus pain and headaches and have lost some weight.

I don't feel much better so I, too, wonder if I really have celiac disease or if it's something more. I'm beginning to think that I have lactose intolerance and that I should give up dairy for several months and see if I feel better. I just got a whole lot of tests for allergies and they all came out out negative (including wheat!). But I've been told that an allergy is a completely different thing than an intolerance. Hence, I have gluten intolerance (and celiac disease) but no gluten allergies. Weird.

Anyway, I understand what you're going through.

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At any rate, we scheduled a fresh raft of blood tests for next week including zinc and vitamin K which I hadn

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zombi and julandjo

i've been dealing with crazy neuro symptoms like the both of you. dealing with muscle spasms, muscle wasting, fatigue, numbness, all body muscle and joint pain. everything i do on a daily basis is such a chore. anywho, i figured i had MS or ALS and saw the neuro a few times and mri, ct, and exam all came back good.

All my symptoms continue to get worse and i feel no better. Only found out 2 weeks ago and started the diet then - stupid me did not realize my vitamin had gluten. Either way now only 4-5 days in and hope this gets better.

good to know i'm not crazy with path of symptoms and going worse case disease.

best of luck and pls post more as i need reassurance that these symptoms will go away and are releated to the celiac. im not 100% convinved this diet will fix all that bothers me but....let's see

all the best,

chris

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I HAVE BEEN TOTALLY GLUTEN FREE FOR ABOUT 2 MONTHS STILL HAVING SEVERE HAND PAIN , NEUROPATHY SYMPTOMS AND SWOLLEN LYMPH GLANDS. HAS YOUR SYMPTOMS CHANGED YET.HOPING SOMEONE CAN HELP WITH GOOD NEWS.

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I'm hearing all of you! I've been on (what I believed was) a gluten free diet for 9 months. I was feeling better, my blood work was better, but somehow, somewhere, some gluten sneaked in and WHAM really messed me up! Tingly/numb toes, sore (burning) knee, sore fingers, a whole bunch of neurological things. I think I've had celiac for many years and didn't know it and had migraines and bad leg cramps, a goiter, plus a few other aches and pains. I'm glad to report those symptoms have all gone away. My doc says the new ones are ALL due to the celiac disease and the fact that I'm not absorbing vitamins and minerals correctly yet. So, my duty is to absolutely make sure there is NO gluten in anything I eat...or wear...such as cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash,soap, etc. Molecules of gluten are teeny so it's really important to think of all the places the little stinkers can hide! I am now officially off ALL grains. We'll see if that changes anything. I am slowly feeling better.

I've been researching a lot, and though I'm probably not going to change much (except go on an elimination diet)there is an interesting diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which talks a lot more about the various things that can be done to help sick intestines (besides the gluten free diet). It's very interesting and I think helpful to get some broader perspectives.

Good luck to ALL of us in this same wobbly boat! I think joining this website/forum has really been wonderful. It's so good to be able to talk to others experiencing the same stuff (and know that I'll be heard and listened to with compassion).

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I am chiming in here, joining you all...4 months gluten-free and some days I feel like CRAP. Like a bad flu...

I don't have the energy to try to test other intolerances but i guess that is my next step. I thought that other intolerances would manifest as stomach issues but it seems not!

i HAVE put on weight and I think some of the nerve stuff is better SOME days but still so tired and struggling.

I guess it is one day at a time. Today was NOT a good day at all. My shins feel like the worst shin splints and all my feet nerves are so sore. Grrrr.

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I'm sorry so many of you are on this road. It really is scary and frustrating. I'll first say that it is possible that celiac caused or is related to another possible autoimmune disease that you might have such as MS, RA or fibromylagia. It is also possible that like many celiacs (including me) with neuro problems, it is just taking a long time for you to recover. I'm 2.5 years into this and I consider myself still in the recovery phase. I have to be more strict than some of the other posters here in order to avoid accidental glutenings. I have to sleep more and take it slow and stead in order to be successful. I've had to cut out other foods that either I tested allergic to or I've figured out I'm intolerant of. I've had to make my house gluten free. All of those have added up to improvements in the way I feel over time. Unfortunately, it really has been time and strictness in the diet.

Google Gluten Ataxia for info on some of the ways gluten can affect the brain.

As for recovery time. At 3 months, I had had some better days off and on. I was able to walk 1/4 of a mile without stopping. I was sleeping only about 16 hours/day instead of 20. I wasn't crying from the skin tenderness anymore. I still had muscle, joint, bone, and head pain. I still had lots of neuropathy. I still had terrible fatigue and confusion. I still had vertigo, faintness, and blood pressure problems. I was also ravenously hungry once I got good at gluten free. Everything improved in baby steps. Nothing is totally gone, but most are much better and manageable. I started physical therapy and was educated on how to do trigger point therapy on myself. I do this about an hour every evening, and it has really helped to decrease my muscle pain. I'm still have significant word finding problems and it takes me longer to think about things. Reading is difficult on both my brain and my vestibular system, but it has improved as well. My neuropathy is almost gone. My fatigue is still present, but I can function on 9 hours of sleep and if left to sleep all day or nap, I would max out at around 12 hours. I'm working again and enjoy what I do more than ever.

I expect that I've done some permanent damage to my neurologic system, but most things have improved slowly. Every time I get accidentally glutened, I have a huge setback for 2 weeks and it takes me 6-8 weeks to feel like I'm back to me. Give it time and your strictest attention and things will slowly improve. Consider other possible causes of your symptoms, but know that it still may be just celiac. Also, do some of your own research on the neuro symptoms of celiac, because it is old school thinking that celiac causes neuro damage from just vitamin deficiencies. We now know gluten has systemic effects and can cause damage to all parts of your body. If you find a good article, give it to the doc. She may just get good at finding the other 1% of her patients with celiac.

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I'm sorry so many of you are on this road. It really is scary and frustrating. I'll first say that it is possible that celiac caused or is related to another possible autoimmune disease that you might have such as MS, RA or fibromylagia. It is also possible that like many celiacs (including me) with neuro problems, it is just taking a long time for you to recover. I'm 2.5 years into this and I consider myself still in the recovery phase. I have to be more strict than some of the other posters here in order to avoid accidental glutenings. I have to sleep more and take it slow and stead in order to be successful. I've had to cut out other foods that either I tested allergic to or I've figured out I'm intolerant of. I've had to make my house gluten free. All of those have added up to improvements in the way I feel over time. Unfortunately, it really has been time and strictness in the diet.

Google Gluten Ataxia for info on some of the ways gluten can affect the brain.

As for recovery time. At 3 months, I had had some better days off and on. I was able to walk 1/4 of a mile without stopping. I was sleeping only about 16 hours/day instead of 20. I wasn't crying from the skin tenderness anymore. I still had muscle, joint, bone, and head pain. I still had lots of neuropathy. I still had terrible fatigue and confusion. I still had vertigo, faintness, and blood pressure problems. I was also ravenously hungry once I got good at gluten free. Everything improved in baby steps. Nothing is totally gone, but most are much better and manageable. I started physical therapy and was educated on how to do trigger point therapy on myself. I do this about an hour every evening, and it has really helped to decrease my muscle pain. I'm still have significant word finding problems and it takes me longer to think about things. Reading is difficult on both my brain and my vestibular system, but it has improved as well. My neuropathy is almost gone. My fatigue is still present, but I can function on 9 hours of sleep and if left to sleep all day or nap, I would max out at around 12 hours. I'm working again and enjoy what I do more than ever.

I expect that I've done some permanent damage to my neurologic system, but most things have improved slowly. Every time I get accidentally glutened, I have a huge setback for 2 weeks and it takes me 6-8 weeks to feel like I'm back to me. Give it time and your strictest attention and things will slowly improve. Consider other possible causes of your symptoms, but know that it still may be just celiac. Also, do some of your own research on the neuro symptoms of celiac, because it is old school thinking that celiac causes neuro damage from just vitamin deficiencies. We now know gluten has systemic effects and can cause damage to all parts of your body. If you find a good article, give it to the doc. She may just get good at finding the other 1% of her patients with celiac.

This disease can just be hellish. I totally relate to so many of your symptoms. I have been tested for MS and RA so far and all negative but it is shocking how freaking disabling this can be. Most people don't understand, since I seem so much better (not wasting away, sleeping better and the crippling depression and anxiety is so much better) but I am still nowhere NEAR myself. Maybe I never will be and this is the new normal and I need to get used to it but I am also trying to be very strict. It does help when I hear others stories of long recoveries but slowly getting better because my doctors have never seen anything like me and don't know what else they can do. All the doctors said "you should feel better in a few weeks"..oh I don't think so :(

hugs to you all

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    • Advil (ibuprofen) is gluten-free, but can be a stomach irritant, especially if taken on an empty stomach. That said, I will also place my bet on the garlic and onions. As Raven said, eating more than once a day may also help. An empty stomach is likely to be an irritable stomach.
    • Another link: http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/7351/PDF
    • Thanks for posting.  I know it is difficult to talk about these sorts of things even on a webforum.  It is good thing for people to be aware though about celiac disease and that it can cause mental problems.  Gluten can cause brain damage and it can cause anxiety. If the brain does heal it may take a long time. I know that gluten can cause anxiety and obsessive thoughts.  My experience has been similar to your experience. When I first quit eating gluten I had a similar constant loop and strong negative feelings. There are lots of people on this forum who get anxiety when they eat gluten. Some people also experience gluten withdrawl where they experience anxiety after giving up gluten. It can take a long time for the body to heal and for obsessive thoughts to go away.
       It is normal for people to socialize with each other and to be comfortable about it. You said you have problems still socializing and being around people. It might be a depressing thought but it sounds to me like you still have problems with anxiety.  I would recommend considering what options you have available to treat the anxiety. When I quit eating Gluten I still had some symptoms, even though I felt much better. I have been slowly recovering over a period of about three years. I had obsessive thoughts even after I quit eating gluten.  Now I very rarely if at all think about those things. My experience is that my mind would latch on to certain things that caused me anxiety and focus on those things. Sometimes my focus would shift and I would latch onto other things. My ability to socialize has also improved greatly with time. I have made some dietary changes which I believe have helped greatly. It sounds to me like you have obsessive thoughts about things and maybe some brain damage. My experience has been that my obsessive thoughts about different things went away with time. I feel my obsessive thoughts were caused by gluten and not by what people did around me or any events. As my brain healed I became more self aware and things became less stressful.  I can't give medical advice on this forum but I can talk about my current diet and my experience with celiac disease. My experience with gluten is different from a lot of other people so it is a good idea to ask other people and to talk to a doctor.  I avoid oats and avoid almost all processed foods. I buy certified gluten free food. I eat healthy and I exercise every day. I take st John's Wort as I have read studies that say it may be as effective as some other anti-depressants for treating certain types of anxiety. It is available over the counter. I started with a small dosage and then stepped it up over time. I think it helps a lot.  This is also something that you should talk to a doctor about first. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Martin_Mahoney2/publication/7426926_St._John's_wort/links/540d8acc0cf2f2b29a386673.pdf A lot of people with celiac disease have vitamin deficiencies.  Vitamin b deficiency can cause anxiety. Some people do not process the synthetic form of vitamin b (from normal pills)  very well, and do better on an activated form of vitamin b. I take:
      1 activated vitamin b12 daily
      1 activated vitamin b6 every once in a while. 1 regular vitamin b multivitamin
      1 magnesium pill every day.
      St Johns Wort daily.
      1 zinc vitamin daily
      I drink lots of Chamomile tea and decaf coffee. I avoid most caffeine. 
      I think each of these helps lower my anxiety level.  I eat fruit with every meal. Canned fruit from walmart is cheap and good for you. I eat salad and and vegetables and avoid dairy.  I eat frozen fish often as it has healthy proteins. Eating healthy is very important. I eat potatoes and rice. http://www.livestrong.com/article/454179-what-is-methyl-b12/ I avoid eating soy sauce, soy, cheese, aged meats and fermented foods (I do drink certain types of alcohol in moderate amounts.) These foods contain lots of Tyramine. I might (or might not) have "monoaine oxidase deficiency" and if so high Tyramine foods should be avoided.  I thought I might have problems with elevated ammonia in my blood, but I am not convinced of that anymore. I limited my consumption of meat for a while as well as dairy but I am not sure if i helped.  I have heard that Celiac disease can effect other organs besides the brain and those organs can have an effect on the brain.  My current diet is working so I am going to stick with it for now. I try not to worry about things that are outside of my control. Be patient as it took me a long time to recover.  Let me know if you have any questions. There is a lot of information on this site and people who are willing to help.
       
    • Thank you. This is really helpful. I will call around next week.  I just want to heal! 
    • My endoscopy showed i had decreased folds in my duodenum. The biopsy came back and showed that my villi were fine... i have been on a gluten free diet for 6 years because i was just told i was intolerant but never had any testing before. when i eat gluten i get sick for 2 weeks. i came down with issues of other foods in march so they were trying to figure out why and wanted to know if i had celiac are not because that would explain why dairy and fructose are a problem.. both intolerant test for both were negative but the fructose test made me extremely sick but it was negative...      Im trying to figure out why i have decreased  folds in the first place. my Gi doctor is stumped on that to why the endoscopy would show damage but the under the microscope are fine. She is going to call the dr who did my scope and then is supposed to get back to  me..    would being gluten free for 6 year make it so there was damage and then my vili are now fine but still cant be seen in the endoscope?
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