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Boyfriend Getting Gluten-Sensitive As Well?

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This is my first time posting here, so let me introduce myself here first :) I'm a girl, age 27 from the Netherlands. Please excuse me if my grammar is off at times, English is my second language.

Here's the story, and my question:

After a long period of medical hide-and-seek I finally got my diagnosis 1,5 years ago. My boyfriend is very supportive, we've been living together for 3,5 years now and he has been there for me throughout the whole diagnosis process. Most of our evening meals are gluten-free and he also loves gluten-free muesli and snacks. Because of this he doesn't eat a lot of gluten anymore.

Of late he has had intestinal problems like cramps and flatulence, and he's often tired or has trouble concentrating. That must raise an alarm with most of you, as it did with me the last time this happened, about a year ago. When he started to display these symptomes we immediately started with a diagnosis process, but he had no antibodies or atrophy. Coeliac disease was out of the question.

So celiac disease is ruled out, but every time he eats bread, pizza or drinks beer he gets these problems. Can non-coeliacs become gluten-sensitive if they don't eat a lot of gluten for a longer period of time?


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Hi, and welcome, Ellie.

I think the short answer to your question is that if you have no problem with gluten you can stop and start eating it any time and it will not affect you in the least. If you eat no, or very little gluten, and then suddenly ressume eating gluten and have problems with it, it means you are gluten sensitive. There are many people who are gluten sensitive who do not have celiac disease. And there are many people who can continue eating gluten and not realize it is a problem for them until they eat very little or none, and then start eating it again.

At the time your boyfriend was last tested, he may not have been eating enough gluten to raise his antibody level to the testing threshold, or to have caused atrophy in his small intestine. It does not necessarily mean that celiac disease is out of the question. Those who have been gluten free or gluten "light" are recommended to go on a full gluten diet for 2-3 months before blood testing and endoscopy to get a definitive test result. So if he wanted an accurate test he would need to eat the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread per day for two to three months.

So I believe it was not the lack of gluten that made him gluten sensitive; it was just that his body had had a rest from having to deal with gluten and did some healing from it, and then rejected the gluten once it was reintroduced.


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So if he wanted an accurate test he would need to eat the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread per day for two to three months.

Ah, he usually eats 2-3 slices a day, which is quite a small amount for a big eater like him. He supplements it with other foods like dinner leftovers, fruits, yoghurt and nuts.


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    • Welllllllll, in this particular case it would be best to keep her on gluten until the results come back. The reason I say this is b/c this GI seems whacky. There's a chance you may need to go to a different GI & have the endoscopy redone. I was going to say get a new GI but since the endoscopy is on Monday then I would go forth with it rather than waiting the time it would take to get a new GI & schedule an endoscopy. This GI seems set that it's not celiac & when they get that in their brain it's usually pretty darn hard for them to admit they were wrong. My concern is that she won't take enough biopsies from the right places b/c she's either dumb about how many & where or letting her personal (already formed) opinion influence what she will do. The problem is that you can't be there in the OR with them standing on the GI's shoulders making her do the right thing. Not knowing your daughters age, the other concern is that there may not be "enough" damage just yet, it may be patchy, etc..... that with the mindset this doc has, she will poo poo the dx.  Let me say that it would be a travesty & wholly awful IF you had to put your daughter through another endoscopy but we know how very important it is for her to have an official, dyed in the wool dx. So I'm just trying to think down the line & prevent problems before they come up. I mean, this doc may not even take any biopsies. That sounds insane I realize, but really, it happens more often than you would think. I can't tell you the number of times we've had people come on here after having an endoscopy for celiac where the doc didn't take any biopsies b/c the doc is so stupid as to think they can see the damage & doesn't realize there MUST be biopsies! If you take her off gluten & heaven forbid, you have to end up putting her back on it to get further testing then chances are she's going to get much, much sicker when she's put back on gluten. That most often happens with us and I'm talking about radically sick. See, I'm basing all my thinking on the fact that despite ALL the positive celiac blood work, this dimwit doc doesn't think it's celiac & instead it's all related to the constipation. That is just so far out there, it's NUTS! She's flying in the face of hard evidence! Every test you listed was positive. I can't even begin to understand how this GI comes to her insane conclusion. THAT'S why I am so concerned. 
    • Thanks for your reply. That's what my husband and I thought too. She has a ton of symptoms that's fit celiac. Also I was going to start her gluten free diet after her biopsy on Monday cause the dr said the results take two weeks. Is there a reason I should keep her eating gluten until we get the results? Thanks for your help.
    • In reflex testing they look at a result and decide if the next test is needed.  Another example, some labs only do EMA if the Ttg is positive.
    • Her blood panel is POSITIVE!!!! She's celiac! I don't know what in the world the GI is thinking. That's crazy! The GI obviously doesn't really know celiac. The constipation is tripping her up but celiacs can be constipated as much as they can go the other way and more than 50% of dx'd celiacs presented with NO GI issues. Keep her eating gluten until you get the results of the endoscopic biopsies.
    • Your test results, to me, seem to indicate that you do not have celiac disease. (Everything is within normal levels.) And, your total IgA is high. Many people with celiac disease have low total IgA levels (10-15 times more frequently than people in the general population). The total IgA is conducted because about 3% of people are IgA deficient. If you have a very low total IgA, that can invalidate the three blood tests that rely on your IgA levels.   Plumbago
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