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Brain Fog


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#1 Harpgirl

 
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Posted 21 June 2011 - 09:23 PM

Whenever I talk about brain fog and celiac, my husband takes on this skeptical aire and scoffs a bit (well, a lot really). Tonight, he explained that everytime I mention it, he remembers the movie Joe Vs the Volcano and in particular the scene where Meg Ryan says, "You didn't get a second opinion for something called a "brain cloud?"" He still doesn't quite "get it." I haven't even been gluten-free yet 2 weeks after all. :P

I was hoping to get all of your experiences with brain fog in one place so that I can convieniently share it with him, and maybe he'll take it a little more seriously. ;)

Thanks! :D
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Gluten free 6/10/11
Negative blood test for celiac 7/7/11
History, genetics, and response to diet point to celiac anyway.

Syan rest wear
feasceaft funden, he s frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weormyndum ah,
ot him ghwylc ara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan. t ws god cyning! -Excerpt from the prologue of Beowulf. :)

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#2 Mummyto3

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:49 AM

Just to say firstly, my test hasn't come through yet, but I have all the symptoms and a daughter who's tested positive.

I have brain fog too. It feels like I've got stuffing in my head. Like its just full of it, so much so it's hard to think or concentrate on anything. I'm constantly tired. It feels like its hard work to think and concentrate fully. Its like I'm not really 'here'. Desperate for a clear head. Some days are worse/better than others. Todays a bad day :(
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Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.

#3 rgarton

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 01:53 AM

Aha the brain fog scoff, i too have been there! Sigh! My brain fog is almost like i can't concentrate on anything, i can sit doing nothing for a couple of hours without noticing, almost like swimming through time. Like that state between being asleep and awake, almost physically shaking your head to get rid of a fog, but it doesnt go. A heady drunkeness without being drunk!
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Lifes not waiting for the storm to pass, its learning to dance in the rain...

#4 Lori2

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:40 AM

For me it was an inability to come up with words. After going gluten-free the thought went through my head that I felt like I had just had a "vocabulary infusion".
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#5 NoodleUnit

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:09 AM

Me too, I'm a lot more switched on since I went gluten-free. I'd been struggling at work for a few months before I got DX'd. My workmates have noticed a return to the old me since I've gone gluten free, without a doubt. In fact If I think back a bit, I've been making jokes for years that I felt I was losing more braincells than most people my age.

Don't know if anyone here watches The Simpsons, but I feel like Homer when he had the crayon removed from his brain. :D
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#6 Hawthorn

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 06:22 AM

For me, it is inability to focus and retain information. My kids could tell me which friends they were going to, and five minutes later I would have to ask them again. Sometimes, I have no recollection of people telling me things that they swear they told me.

It's walking down the garden to the freezer, and forgetting what on earth it was I wanted from there.

It's standing in front of the ATM for five minutes before I finally recall my PIN number.

It's getting stressed in a room full of people because everyone is talking, and it makes it even harder to focus. There is just a total overload of random information and it feels like there is so much I cannot process any of it.

Whole days can pass by, and I will not know how on earth it got to that time. I can't particularly recall doing anything time consuming, but then tasks seem to take a lot longer than they would normally probably due to lack of focus.

At it's absolute worst, I felt so overwhelmed that I didn't feel like I was on the same planet as other people anymore. It's hard to laugh at a joke, when you need to hear it three times to process what you are being told.
When things are really bad, I also feel emotionless - like nothing really matters and it can all just pass me by and will sort itself out.

I would need to reread the same page of a book over and over to understand the story, and have often had to skip back on a movie because I didn't process what was just said.

I also found myself having to stop halfway through saying something, because I couldn't for the life of me think what I was talking about.

It seemed to me that my spacial awareness was all out of whack too. I would pass through a door and smack my shoulder or wrist on the doorframe, trip over things I was trying to walk around or step over, knock things over etc.

And the tiredness. Always that nagging exhaustion, no matter how much sleep you had.

I suspect that I have gone into shops/banks and have been so spaced out that they probably thought I was on drugs.
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#7 Cara in Boston

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:33 AM

Mine felt very physical (like the stuffing description). I would find myself physically shaking my head to try and clear it. . . as if I could shake it away.

Also had problems with memory (did I eat lunch? what did I have?)

and do dumb stuff like go out and get the mail, and then absent-mindedly place it in the fridge when I went there next to get something. I'd go back hours later and wonder why the mail was in the fridge.

Cara
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#8 speedy2056

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:45 AM

I had my blood test yesterday so I haven't had a diagnosis yet, but mine is like having compressed air at the back of my head. Everything feels heavy. My thoughts conflict with one another. I also have OCD when I eat wheat/gluten and think of terrifying and anxious thoughts. Thoughts that make no sense. Everyone is supposed to get random though traffic but it's as if my thoughts do not "flow freely" when I'm glutened/wheated up. Everything comes crashing down and appears to be doom and gloom. I'm incredibly angry, too, and I have been known to jump down people's throats.

When I'm off gluten, none of the above happens and I am a peaceful, happy and calm person. It's as if I'm Jekkyl and Hyde. :huh:
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#9 NoodleUnit

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:22 AM

It seemed to me that my spacial awareness was all out of whack too. I would pass through a door and smack my shoulder or wrist on the doorframe, trip over things I was trying to walk around or step over, knock things over etc.


This.

I've had this for the last few months. I'm constantly smacking my shoulder off doorframes, dropping cards, keys etc. I'm generally very good with spacial awareness, I was always very sporty, but since the celiac disease came on it's been a clumsy-fest. I'm hoping that'll go away as things heal though.
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#10 Harpgirl

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 11:16 AM

These are excellent descriptions and a big help to me as many of them describe my trouble too. Keep 'em comin' and I'll have my hubby read this thread tonight. I may even send the link to my sis who laughs and says "that's just you!" :rolleyes:

Thanks soooo much! :D
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Gluten free 6/10/11
Negative blood test for celiac 7/7/11
History, genetics, and response to diet point to celiac anyway.

Syan rest wear
feasceaft funden, he s frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weormyndum ah,
ot him ghwylc ara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
gomban gyldan. t ws god cyning! -Excerpt from the prologue of Beowulf. :)

#11 kwylee

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:50 PM

Ask your husband if he ever took an antihistamine that left him feeling "out of it", like his head wasn't attached to the rest of him. If he has, then he knows what it was like for me 24/7 - yes, I'd wake up in the middle of the night with brain fog. When it was at it's worst, it was nothing short of frightening, and I am no hypochondriac like Joe in the movie. In fact, I'm a bit of a hard head when it comes to consulting with doctors. But I would get it so severely that my eyes wouldn't focus. Gluten was attacking my brain, most probably a plaque that was forming as a result of repeatedly ingesting something my body couldn't handle.

Within a few months of being gluten free, I was free of brain fog. It's also the first thing to return if I am cross contaminated.
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K Wylee

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Casein sensitivity, Positive test, June 2010
Reactive to soy, most processed foods & preservatives, June 2010

#12 anabananakins

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:46 PM

For me, it is inability to focus and retain information. My kids could tell me which friends they were going to, and five minutes later I would have to ask them again. Sometimes, I have no recollection of people telling me things that they swear they told me.

It's walking down the garden to the freezer, and forgetting what on earth it was I wanted from there.

It's standing in front of the ATM for five minutes before I finally recall my PIN number.

It's getting stressed in a room full of people because everyone is talking, and it makes it even harder to focus. There is just a total overload of random information and it feels like there is so much I cannot process any of it.

Whole days can pass by, and I will not know how on earth it got to that time. I can't particularly recall doing anything time consuming, but then tasks seem to take a lot longer than they would normally probably due to lack of focus.

At it's absolute worst, I felt so overwhelmed that I didn't feel like I was on the same planet as other people anymore. It's hard to laugh at a joke, when you need to hear it three times to process what you are being told.
When things are really bad, I also feel emotionless - like nothing really matters and it can all just pass me by and will sort itself out.

I would need to reread the same page of a book over and over to understand the story, and have often had to skip back on a movie because I didn't process what was just said.

I also found myself having to stop halfway through saying something, because I couldn't for the life of me think what I was talking about.

It seemed to me that my spacial awareness was all out of whack too. I would pass through a door and smack my shoulder or wrist on the doorframe, trip over things I was trying to walk around or step over, knock things over etc.

And the tiredness. Always that nagging exhaustion, no matter how much sleep you had.

I suspect that I have gone into shops/banks and have been so spaced out that they probably thought I was on drugs.


Hawthorn, I nodded to myself all through your post, my experiences were exactly the same.

I am particularly thrilled to no longer be hitting the edges of door frames or smacking into the photocopier as I walked around it, I used to always have bruises.

I couldn't handle having people walk towards me in a narrow corridor, it made my brain nearly explode as I tried to concentrate on not walking into them. And my friends are used to me tipping in their path as we walk side by side.

For me I'd forget things from seconds ago. I was unable to look at a number and then turn the page and write it. Yet I have no problem remembering things in great detail from years ago.

I have so much more energy, I actually have problems managing it. I'm used to coming home from work so tired that I'd be falling asleep by 8.30pm. Now it's 11pm and I know I have to get to sleep because the alarm will go off early, but I'm wide awake. I need to reconcile ingrained habits learned due to constant fatigue with the reality of how much better I actually feel now.
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#13 Skylark

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:49 PM

For me, brain fog is very much like that muzzy-headed feeling you get when you're sick with a flu or virus. I can't focus, can't concentrate, can't remember a damn thing. I can't learn anything new, and I often can't recall things I should know, even to the point of fishing for words. I am "spacey" and can barely get out of the house with everything I need for work... as if I'm any use there. It feels like someone replaced my brain with cotton.

I was trying to add 12 + 8 and honest to god had to count on my fingers. I have a doctorate in a computational field - it shouldn't be that hard! I was going home the other day, and totally lost track of which freeway I was on. I had no memory of taking the exit. Like Cara, I too have put my mail in the fridge. I laughed out loud when I read that because I had done the same thing.
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#14 WinterSong

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:18 PM

I would forget what I was saying a lot. I could be in the middle of a story (or sometimes in the middle of a sentence) and just get lost or completely not remember what I was talking about. I think it's gotten a little better, although sometimes I wonder if it's real brain fog or just me being spacey :rolleyes:

There was one really bad day last month - do you all know those fake cobwebs you buy for kids parties on Halloween? It felt like my thoughts and brain were swimming through thick layers of that. AND I had to teach a yoga class that night. I thought, "Oh my goodness, how do I teach and make what I'm saying sound profound? It's just going to come out in broken sentences and sound like nonsense!" But I wrote some important points down and made it through okay. ;)
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Diagnosed with IBS - Fall 2007

Diagnosed with Celiac via blood test (tTg off the charts) - March 18th, 2011

Gluten free as of March 25th, 2011 and going strong!

Positive biopsy April 1st, 2011

 

Blood test results back down to normal levels November 2012


#15 color_me_confused

 
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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:48 PM

As someone with mostly inattentive-type ADD, I have this to say: the brain fog from gluten produces some of the poor working memory/distractibility/poor focus symptoms I get from the ADD. The difference: the gluten fog feels, well, like fog in my head. When I went gluten-free it was like returning to my normal ADD baseline - the gluten exposure had made all those symptoms much worse and not realized it. I am now getting my ADD treated, and interestingly when I got hit with the gluten brain fog a few months ago it was completely unresponsive to Ritalin. Normally the meds make the ole noggin functionally fairly normally until they wear off.

to sum all that up: gluten-induced brain fog may mimic some ADD symptoms, but it feels psychologically different (the 'heavy' or 'foggy' thoughts), and it is unresponsive to Ritalin (methylphenidate). I can't say if the amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine) class of drugs is more effective since I haven't tried them. Now if they did there would be an interesting proposition - use the amphetamine ADD drugs to help get through a gluten exposure.
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