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I realize that I have been going about this all wrong, but I stumbled upon a gluten-free site somewhere on the Internet a month and a half a go when I was looking around for possible explanations for why I started every day feeling fine, and then got very uncomfortably bloated by mid afternoon, until I could barely walk by evening, and was getting a headache every night. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, but then ate bread products the rest of the day. It seemed very unlikely to me, but I was really tired of the discomfort, so decided to see what would happen if I eliminated gluten, and sure enough, those things almost completely disappeared within a couple days. Some other pains and perpetually cracked skin also disappeared, so it really seemed like I was having some kind of bad gluten reactions.

But then last weekend I finally did a "challenge"--ate a bagel and had Chinese dumplings made with wheat flour, and didn't really have all that much of a reaction. I felt briefly nauseous, had a brief bout of violent diarrhea, one day of nothing at all, and then three days of zero energy (even took a day off work for one of them), and very mild bloating and discomfort for about five days, and a return of the skin cracks. Could those diverse and not very severe things be related to eating gluten several days previously? They,ve gone away again now (six days after the gluten day), but it makes me feel like this is all in my head.

What I realize, having done this, is that I probably should have done some kind of testing before I tried the gluten-free experiment, but I honestly didn't know what to expect. And now I don't know what to think.

I don,t have what seem to be most people,s usual symptoms (diarrhea, namely), but bloating, discomfort, headaches, congestion, skin problems, and now that I read more people's stories, a dubious history (embarrassing periods of diarrhea as a child, cracked and bleeding skin on my feet my entire childhood that none of the doctor-prescribed creams ever did a thing about, iinconclusive abdominal pains as an adolescent that doctors never did find a cause for, a diagnosis of "spastic colon" as a graduate student, discomfort off and on--telling myself that everyone experiences "aches and pains"--though this past month has shown me that that perhaps isn't true.)

So, the question in--what now? My symptoms, of whatever it is, are mild, not debilitating like so many people's appear to me. My two grown children pretty much had diarrhea their entire childhoods, so maybe THEY should be tested. One of them suffers from depression, and sleeping inordinate amounts of time (he's on an antidepressant and ADD medication, and STILL spends long periods of time in the bathroom).

I'm not feeling terribly inclined to go back on gluten, even though the results of that one gluten day weren't so bad. I'm not craving it, or even really missing it, and one of the god things is that I have stopped feeling hungry all the time.

Any suggestions?

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Hi Sunny,

These symptoms can definitely be related to gluten!

For a partial list of symptoms, you could visit the National Foundation for Celiac Disease's website, they keep a partial list.

Different people react in different amounts of time. Some know within minutes of eating gluten, some hours, some never at all (but are still being chronically affected in ways ranging from infertility to fatigue to increased risk of certain cancers). And in fact one of the most common things that happens when people go gluten-free is that they find symptoms clearing up, that they didn't even realize were symptoms at all.

A couple of things to note:

a) be careful with oats! They are rarely safe unless they are certified gluten-free because they can get very contaminated in processing (and recent studies show that some strains of oat actually have gluten in them)

B) your body will take some time to heal completely, more than a few days!

c) if you can, it might be wise to visit a doctor you trust or a local celiac support center, and have them run tests for celiac disease. You'll need to be eating gluten consistently in your diet for the tests to be accurate

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Thanks!

I haven't eaten oatmeal since I started eating gluten-free, but I really wish I had pursued testing before I started all this. It was really a kind of "hmmmmm, I wonder if this is what is going on," and sure enough, cutting the gluten really helped a lot, and now I really really don't want to go back to eating gluten to do the testing. The one day I did my own gluten trial, I wa completely knocked out for about five days afterwards. Maybe it was just coincidence, though.

I haven't talked to my doctor yet, though.....

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Don't doubt yourself! Your symptoms are very real and many of us suffer from the those same ones. Follow your gut (pardon the pun).

Having affirmation from a doctor is nice, but many doctors don't have any idea about the vast array of issues Celiac can cause. They're out of their league. :rolleyes: On top of that, the blood tests have a 20-30% false negative rate and the biopsies are heavily reliant on who does the procedure (and who interprets the slides). I don't mean to deter you from pursuing testing, it's just that I understand not wanting to go back on gluten just to be tested...

I don't think it's coincidence that you felt badly back on gluten. You might be surprised how many more symptoms you find after being gluten free for a longer period of time. Things you would not even dream of can resolve on a gluten-free diet. :) Just a word of warning: we sometimes get more sensitive to trace amounts of gluten the longer we are off of it, so if you start feeling bad again.. you could be getting trace amounts. Oh, and we're also prone to other food intolerances. :unsure:

You're pursuing health for yourself.. and unfortunately, in the society we live in, we sometimes cannot count on doctors to help us with that.

Good luck

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Thanks! I really appreciate your comments. I think I am NOT going to pursue testing, because I just don't feel up to it (it looks like there really aren't any doctors in my area who know anything about this). But I WILL continue to eat gluten-free, and let that be good. I really do want to feel better, and this last month and a half of gluten-free eating has left me feeling way better than I had in a long time. I may pursue having my sons, tested though.....

Thanks again.

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I'm glad for you! Just keep in mind that your reaction to gluten could indicate Celiac which is a a serious autoimmune disease.

It's muuuucccchhh easier to pursue testing when you haven't gone gluten-free yet! I hope your sons get some answers.

Welcome to the forum, by the way. :)

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Thanks! I really appreciate your comments. I think I am NOT going to pursue testing, because I just don't feel up to it (it looks like there really aren't any doctors in my area who know anything about this). But I WILL continue to eat gluten-free, and let that be good. I really do want to feel better, and this last month and a half of gluten-free eating has left me feeling way better than I had in a long time. I may pursue having my sons, tested though.....

Thanks again.

I just had an incomplete blood test by my inefficient doctor that was negative. I have decided to not pursue further testing either. It is too much of a strain on my insurance and on my wallet! I am much healthier gluten free. Noticeably better. I did want a diagnoses, because I have family members that think of it as a fad diet rather than something serious... but I decided that my medical records are sealed, and I could tell them what I want. Otherwise there would be no respect for how I need to eat when I visit them. I went gluten free before and felt wonderful for about three months, until I visited my mom and she had me convinced it was all in my head. Lo and behold... my symptoms came back, but even worse than before.

So if you are good without an official diagnoses, then more power to you! Good luck!

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    • Mnoosh,    Can you give us a link to the article you read about the increased risk after being diagnosed and maintaining a strict gluten-free diet??       IMO,   You are over reacting to a misprint or most likely a misread article.
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    • Take a deep breath and calm down!    The incidence of cancer with Celiac Disease is rare.......it can happen but the vast majority of people never have that experience.  You may have somewhat enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation from undiagnosed Celiac but that will all calm down and go away once you get going on the diet.  Believe me, there are many of us that have things happen during the diagnosis and early recovery period and everything turned out just fine.  There is an elevated risk for some cancers with Celiac but that risk goes back to that of the general population after a couple of years on the gluten-free diet. I cannot remember the exact time frame but it is somewhere between 2-4 years, I think.  So many of us went years without a diagnosis and when it was all figured out, we have gone on to be healthy with little complications.  Really...do  not worry about this.  Concentrate on learning all the ins and outs of this disease and how to live gluten free happily.  We are here to help you and guess what? The diet is not as bad as some make it out to be. Many things can be made gluten free and are every bit as good as their gluten counterparts. The diet may not be convenient but it is not hard. I would not lie to you!   
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