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Help! I Have Considered Getting Tested.

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 01:12 PM

Hello. I'm a 19 year-old college student with some background and a few questions.

Beginning around age 11 or 12, I began to experience severe gas cramps 2 or 3 nights per week. This persisted until about a year ago, when I was first advised by a no-nonsense old doctor to try removing wheat products from my diet. He told me from a blood test that my IgA was a bit high, but everything else was okay. I stopped eating wheat bagels in the mornings and switched from bread to corn tortillas, and now cramping is VERY rare :)

I'm afraid that my problem might go beyond intolerance, though. I avoid gluten products for the most part, but still snack on graham crackers and even enjoy certain breads and hot-pocket type items a few times per week without much issue. But my mental health in the past few years has spiraled all over the place. I am severely obsessive-compulsive and locked into a daily routine that I never needed as a young child. My days are dictated by racing thoughts and rituals that have taken the pleasure out of traveling or eating out, so much that I avoid a number of social activities. I think that there might be a biological reason that this is happening, because I grew up in and continue to live in the best of circumstances, with a steady, successful academic life and a wonderful family. But enough of the story; is it possible that an adverse reaction to something like gluten could harm my...brain? Has anyone experienced anything similar?

I was also interested in getting tested for celiac disease because of a few other typical symptoms I have experienced, including mouth sores as a child and a prominent, permanent yellow spot on my bottom front tooth that has baffled dentists over the years :rolleyes: . Finally, my menstrual cycle is irregular and did not start until after age 15. Any thoughts?

One more thing: For fun, I was genotyped by 23andme a few months ago (I am a NERD for that stuff :lol: ). I do have a marker for an increased risk of celiac disease (HLA-DQ1, I think), but from what I've read it's certainly not an absolute and merely increases risk from 0.2 to 0.6 percent.
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Posted 05 August 2011 - 06:30 PM

You will undoubtedly receive quite a few responses on this topic--many people have posted here complaining of neurological problems associated with celiac. It was only recently that neurological issues such as bipolar, seizures, migraines, ADHD, schizophrenia, depression, memory glitches, etc., were discovered to be linked to celiac. Apparently, some/many of us suffer from decreased bloodflow to the frontal lobes and even have plaques/lesions throughout our brains. At a celiac conference I attended in Minnesota last year, the speakers emphasized that while celiac has long been accepted as a gastrointestinal disease, it is, in fact, a neurological disease. Did you know that the gut has more neurons than the brain? Did you know that 90% of our serotonin is produced in our guts and only 10% in our brains? No wonder we have neurological problems!

You're on the right track, and if you decide to go entirely gluten free, you might find your answer as to whether or not gluten is causing your issues.
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Posted 06 August 2011 - 06:42 AM

My main symptoms of celiac are neurological - jitteriness, tingling in my legs, anxiety, irritability, and brain fog. If I get gluten in my system, I can't remember things, have trouble doing math (which I'm good at), and can't remember words I want to use when talking. So yes, your brain can be effected.
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gluten-free March 2011
Failed gluten challenge May 2011
Diagnosed celiac 5/25/11



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Posted 07 August 2011 - 11:12 AM

I am not diagnosed celiac but I do suffer all the typical symptoms when I consume gluten. A gluten intolerance can be just as severe as celiac.

Affecting your brain...TOTALLY! I get headaches/migraines, brain fog where I live in a haze and can't process things correctly--so bad my sentences get messed up.

As far as the mouth sores go I noticed that I went from having either a kaner sore or a cold sore three out of four weeks of a moth to not having one since about a month after I went gluten free. I don't think this is any coincidence! So your mouth sores could be part of it.

The menstrual cycle is definitely a possibility. I know mine was whacked out and my doctor actually did an endoscopy where she stuck 2 cameras inside of me and looked around for signs of endomitriosis because there was no other medical reason for my cycle to be so screwed up. However, nothing appeared to be wrong and I was a mystery to my OBGYN.

The only way to know for sure is to just cut it from your diet completely with no graham crackers or hot pockets :) It's hard at first, but when you feel so much better things are okay and your body starts to recover there was nothing worth eating to go back to that feeling. Just be sure that you get your tests done before you start going completely gluten-free. You need gluten in your system for awhile for the test to be run accurately.
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Gluten Free since November 2010 and feeling fantastic!

(Mis)diagnosis with IBS in 2004
MSG and caffeine free since 2001

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