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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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    • I just now saw the second reply and I see what you mean. Again, the issue is that I may have to go with the gluten until close to the end of the year.

      However, an idea did just come to mind, and that is, can my primary care doctor do such a test? I had normal blood work done, but they didn't really say anything about testing for celiacs. I can get an appointment with my primary care doctor much sooner than a GI.

      When I was talking to my PCP last, I asked her what I should expect as far as testing goes or what she may have been concerned about. Her reply was about a HIDA scan for the gallbladder but also any test needed in case of IBS or Celiacs. Just the way she threw that in there like an after thought and left me hanging kinda had me worried.
    • I am not a doctor that's for sure.  So, I can't even answer your questions.  If you know you have pre-diabetes, you probably are working with a doctor.  Can you email them and ask for a celiac blood panel?   You can work on the weight loss and diabetes -- that you can handle yourself now and take action.  I have diabetes and my glucose readings are fairly normal now without medication and I'm thin.  Being overweight does not cause diabetes.  It's either autoimmune (type 1) or you become insulin resistant (type 2).  You can cut out all sugar and  processed stuff ASAP to help take action and start walking 10,000 steps (helps with the insulin resistance).    But the prediabetes is not going to kill you in the next year.  Whatever's in your gut is more likely going to get you much sooner.  But heck, I'm not a doctor and I don't even know you!    
    • Hi Steph, Yes, celiac disease can cause a myriad of symptoms and damage to the body,  Have you completed all celiac disease testing?  Usually they do the blood antibodies test first and then do an endoscopy.   You shouldn't go gluten-free until all testing is completed. Gluten is in many processed foods.  But if you stick with whole foods it is not hard to avoid gluten.  Getting used to eating gluten-free may take some time, as we need to adjust our preferences in diet.  But there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free.  Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  Some celiac disease organizations recommend avoiding oats also for the first 18 months of the gluten-free diet. Celiac disease impairs the ability of the body to absorb nutrients (including vitamins).  That can make it hard for the body to maintain itself and heal/repair damage.  So celiac can easily impact any part of the body. Sardines, tuna, mackeral and salmon have good amounts of vitamin D in them.  There are supplements available also, but not all are good.  You can check them at the labdoor website.  Nature Made is a good one and not expensive.  Internal damage from celiac can cause liver issues.  Those will probably clear up after being on the gluten-free diet a while. Recovery from celiac can take  months, and can be a rocky road.  The more you stick with whole foods and avoid cross-contamination issues the sooner you will heal IMHO. You may find that dairy causes problems for your digestion at first.  But it make stop being a problem after you have healed up some. welcome to the forum!
    • Will this be dangerous considering how long I have to wait for any testing? I may not even get a blood test in November but here is hoping. I just worry having to wait so long will cause serious issues, not to mention delay of weight loss which I need for the pre-diabetes. Do ulcers have a chance to cause yellow stools though? I suppose a stool test will be needed for that for any signs of blood in stools but visually it does not seem so. The biggest issue is not knowing what else could be causing the yellow stools as this would not be a diabetic or ulcer thing. And without negative signs on the gallbladder or liver, it is narrowing down the list.

      At the very least this is making me assume I can wait on a final scan of gallbladder and attempt blood tests and endoscopy if they recommend it.
    • The first step is getting a celiac blood panel.   Any medical doctor can order one.  Live near Chicago?  They are do free screenings this month (check their website).  The cost is less than $400 for the complete panel.  If you get a positive on any one of them, then you should be referred to a GI for an endoscopy to obtain intestinal biopsies.   Here's more information from a reliable source and not just some lady on the internet: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/screening/ Having had my gallbladder removed (probably ruined from undiagnosed celiac disease, but I don't know that for sure), I would recommend a HIDA scan.  I have no idea how expensive that one is.  It's a nuclear test that checks for functionality.  Basically, is your gallbladder squeezing bile into your small intestines when those fries or bacon come down the tube.  Mine happened to actually be rotting (infected).  ER suspected appendicitis, but it was a rotten gallbladder.  I never had any stones (that's what the CT or the ultrasound can find).  I am sorry that you are ill.  Keep eating gluten until all testing is complete.  This is important.  Go gluten free now?  Here's why you shouldn't..... http://theceliacmd.com/2013/04/six-reasons-to-test-for-celiac-disease-before-starting-a-gluten-free-diet/  
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