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Hi everyone, I am new here but I would really appreciate any help or advice. I am a 20 year old female and have been having chronic diarrhea, bloating, gas, and pain for about 7 years. Around the same time that my GI problems began, I also began getting eczema really bad on my neck and arms. I used to have really oily skin and acne and now my skin is dry and painful no matter how much fluid I drink or how much lotion I put on. My lips are almost always chapped and cracking at the corners. Well I never really was treated or talked about any of my problems except the eczema. Now that I am in college, I know that what has been going on is not normal and I want answers. I went to my nurse practitioner who said I had IBS and gave me antispasmodic medicine that did not help at all. In a separate visit to the health services doctor on campus, I was diagnosed with "angular cheilitis" which explains the cracking of the lips. I seriously do everything I can to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and take care of my skin but I feel that everything is out of my control. The rash has spread to my eyelids and my lips are so red and painful, and I am so embarrassed even to go out in public or talk to anyone that I know. I went to a different doctor again today who said that she thought it sounded like celiac, and she did a blood test for celiac. My question is, do any of these symptoms sound like celiac? If so, does the rash and angular cheilitis go away on a gluten-free diet? Thanks in advance for any help!

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Welcome to the board. Yes it does sound like you may be celiac. Do make sure you don't go gluten free until all testing is finished. However even if your test results are negative you should still give the diet a good strict try as false negatives do happen.

If you do have problems with gluten then yes the problems you are having should hopefully resolve. You may want to get some stress level B vitamins as that may help a bit.

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Hi racheldeniseh,

I can't add to what ravenwoodglass already said, but just wanted to say hang in there! I'm sure it's difficult to juggle these health issues with schoolwork and your social life, but it sounds like you're taking good care of yourself and you're on your way to getting some answers. Good for you! Hugs!

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You certainly sound like a typical celiac from the symptoms you described.

Be happy your're a typical celiac and not a celiac like I am. I have some digestive problems(gas, poor digestion) but the bulk of my celiac symptoms or neurological and psycological. Crippling Anxiety, and messed up hormones. Blows. The eczema I can relate with. I have eczema on my right achilles heel, right hand, and belt area of my stomach. Its minor when I am gluten free but when I eat something with gluten it literally explodes.

Go get a test I suppose but some people can be extremely gluten intolerant and not show up on a Celiac panel. Thats my case. I can't even eat the Gluten Free Food products.

Couple of questions

You mentioned skin. Do you get dandruff? I had terrible dandruff with my overall dry, cracked skin. Getting better though.

DId you have some sort of trauma that caused these symptoms to start back 7 years ago? Physical/Mental Trauma/Stress can cause gluten intolerance to appear. Did for me.

Main Advice: Go gluten free. Fruits, Veggies, and meat only. Its not that Bad. You get used to it. Also remember to stay with it and don't get discouraged and cheat. It could take months or even years for your body to repair itself. Its been 4 months gluten-free for me and I am alot better but not everything is back to normal. Stay the course kiddo.

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Thank you so much everyone for your responses! It makes me feel good that I have support and people that can relate to what I am going through. :) To Lownskater52: I do have really bad dandruff.. My entire body is just always dry. I do not think I had any trauma during that time, but I cannot remember that time period very well. I wish I would have sought help sooner about all of this. Hopefully my results come back soon. I am still eating gluten as of now, but I will talk to my doctor about what to do next if it is positive or negative.

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Bingo. You sound just like me.

Get tested and whatnot then go gluten free. Whole Foods = Mecca. I guarantee some improvement but I do not guarantee being back to 100%. I'm not even there yet and I've been gluten-free for 4 months.

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One more thing. DO you have dark circles/bags under your eyes? I do and its a sign of overall toxicity.

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YES! I always have dark circles under my eyes!! Everyone always tells me how tired I look. What does overall toxicity mean? Thanks Lownskater52!!!

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Hahaha. Sounds like we have the same thing going on.

Dark circles are a sign of toxicity or hormonal imbalance. Most likely both. Your body prob sees the gluten as a toxin and you develop these bags under your eyes. In addition to this, this toxicity in your blood also causes hormonal imbalances (in your adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries etc...) for the double whammy effect.

Going gluten free will help. Idk if it will get you to 100% but i know it will help. hormonal imbalances also can take years to correct so stick with it.

Keep it up. I know how it is. When I got sick with this disease for the first time 1.5 years ago, I was in my last semester of college.

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I will let you know how my test turns out.. All my favorite foods have gluten but I would happily sacrifice if it meant I didn't have to suffer anymore. P.S. Are you a male or female?

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Aw you're a a cutie.

I'm a macho man.

We'll get you well. Can't be sick for the college experience.

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    • Hi Pablito, Welcome to the forum! You are right, you should keep eating gluten  until the tests are all done.  The skin problems you describe ma be a condition only celiacs get.  The condition is called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH for short),  DH causes an itchy rash that is usually symetrical on the body.  You get the rash on both arms or legs etc.  It makes little blisters on the skin.  They are caused by IgA antibodies in the skin.  There i a test for DH where they take a small skin sample (biopsy) from the skin next to a blister and check it for IgA antibodies.   If they find DH, then you have celiac disease.  The 2 conditions are never separate.  there is a section of this forum dedicated to dermatitis herpetiformis with lots more information. The usual diagnostic process is to do a celiac antibodies blood test first, and then an endoscopy to test for damage to the gut lining.  But with DH, it is better to get the skin biopsy done instead of the endoscopy. Celiac disease is passed on in genes, so your children should be tested also if you are diagnosed.
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    • It is best not to try and do this on your own. Talk to your allergist. Not all will deal with food intolerances but if yours doesn't find one who will.  Mine had me fill out a very detailed diet questionaire and tested for true allergies before he gave me my starting point. I will admit I wasn't real happy with my starting point since none of my usual foods were on it. He said that I was most likely to react to foods I ate the most so most of the 5 I either rarely ate or didn't really like. The prescribed starting point he formulated was designed to make sure I had adaquate nutrition and enough calories.   It took about 2 weeks before a lot of my tummy issues resolved and I was then able to start adding foods in one at a time for a week before moving on to the next.  He said food intolerance reactions can take up to a week to show up so I had to be sure it was a full week between food additions. I did have to call three offices before I found a doctor who could do the formulation of the diet but this guy truely saved my life. Out of all the doctors I had seen, including specialists in big hospitals, he was the one responsible for finally realizing I was celiac. He of course referred me back to my clueless GI doctor who confirmed the diagnosis by almost killing me with a gluten challenge. I should note that some of my intolerance (not gluten of course) did resolve after I had healed. Even dairy which I hadn't been able to have for years! I hope you can get some answers and are able to heal soon.
    • I'm 43 years old. I'm married and have two teen daughters. After all these years it was one of my daughters who tonight said to me: "you probably have Celiac disease" after hearing my wife and I talking about all the pimples I always get on my arms. I never heard of the disease but I have heard about a lot of people having gluten allergies and didn't know they were the same thing. So I started looking it up on the internet. Turns out I have had all the symptoms all my life and no one has ever said anything about it possibly being Celiac disease. When I was a kid my doctor gave me prescriptions to antibacterial soaps to use for the arm pimples. Hibitane I think was one of them. And I've always had swollen looking ankles as long as I can remember. All my life people have noticed it. As a kid and teen I played lot's of sports and have broken my ankles and sprained them so my mom and I brushed it off at that and so did my family doctor when I was young.  But I always thought it was weird that the swelling continued all these years.  I have had a bloated feeling stomach all my life too and chronic diarrhea. My stomach is always hard and swollen feeling. Not ever knowing what that stuff was related too so I have never mentioned the bloat or diarrhea to a doctor. Just kind of embarrassing I guess. As my wife and I were reading about Celiac Disease on the internet together tonight she pointed out to me that that's probably why these symptoms almost all went away when I did a very low carb diet for about a year straight to lose weight a couple years ago. I had solid bowel movements, no bloat, ankle swelling went down but I thought the improvements were from weight loss and just eating healthier . But perhaps in reality it probably had a lot more to do with not eating all the wheat products/gluten products. So tomorrow I will be seeing my doctor to talk to him about it and to ask for the blood tests. I have read that I should continue eating gluten though until my testing is done. So that is crappy but I guess it's better to know for sure. Something else I think I should point out too is that I get headaches quite a bit after having big meals. Now I am thinking that may have something to do with the gluten too. I have read that some people with Celiac also get headaches with the other symptoms. It's great to see there is a forum like this to help people out with these issues. If I test positive for Celiac I will for sure be following this forum closely for advice and diet/nutrition help.
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