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Looking For Some Reassurance

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 12:46 AM

Hi there

I am looking for a little reassurance. I come from a family where digestive problems are rife...we have IBS, reflux and all sort of problems on that front and we have always had issues digesting bread and pasta.

For the past 10 years, I have been ill for at least 50% of the time. Lots of sore throats, fatigue, poor immune system, digestive problems, indigestion, reflux, nausea, the big "D" on a daily basis, hypoglycaemia, bloating, gas, itchy skin, gum problems, I eat very little (less than my 8 year old child) but I am a bit overweight despite this, I have also had problems with anxiety and constant issues with headaches and "brain fog". I thought for a while I was going mad, because the doctor kept telling me there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my mind.

Recently, my sister was diagnosed as celiac. I decided then to try stopping gluten myself after reading up on the symptoms, which I seemed to have. I was initially worse for 2 weeks - almost like all my symptoms were magnified, with night sweats, hives, bloating, gas, major mood swings. Then after that I felt much better. Lighter, more vital and stronger.

After six months on this diet, I feel MUCH better. My toilet habits returned to normal for the first time in 10 years after only 48 hours on the diet, the bloating and gas went, my reflux went, I donīt need anti-acids anymore, my skin stopped itching, bags under my eyes went, I stopped getting colds constantly. Best of all my brain fog went. The brain fog was the worst thing as it made me feel like I was going crazy. I also cut out dairy as I noticed it made me "sinusy".

After six months on a strict regime, I recently had to go on a trip for a funeral and in the chaos and frequent situations where I HAD to eat out and could not be "fussy", I think I might have been exposed to Gluten and dairy more than once. I remember instantly vomiting after one meal and feeling very unwell and I had quite a few suspicious sauces. 9 days have passed though and I am still feeling ill. I have exzema, I have the most unimaginable TERRIBLE gas...itīs atually too painful to really eat. I get it instantly after eating and it lasts 3 hours or so. My stomach swells up like I am pregnant. Waves of nausea, feeling of anxiousness, fatigue etc.

Iīm feeling very down. Do you think this is all down to exposure to gluten, and if so, why is it so much worse than it was before I cut it out?

How long will it take for my digestive system to heal if I have been exposed to gluten?

I am sufferring physically, and with it comes anxiety which makes it worse as I begin to doubt my sanity and start to feel like it is all in my imagination. Times like this I feel really low. I was looking for a bit of support and reassurance that the gluten-free diet is the right way for me and that someone else has shared my experiences.

I realise reading this back it seems fairly obvious that if all this went away then it follows that I have been exposed to gluten and the feeling I am having are temporary?

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:52 AM

Yes, this is because of your exposure. You are almost definitely celiac. What happens is the longer you are off gluten, the more you heal, the stronger your immune system becomes. All those colds and viruses you used to get? That was because your immune system was too busy attacking your intestines to be bothered fighting off germs. But now it has reccovered, it is no longer constantly distracted with gluten, and so it is like a vigilant soldier, patrolling your bloodstream for offenders! And because it is basically unnoccupied, save for the occasional germ that gets in, when even a teensy weensy particle of gluten gets is WHAM, full fledged attack. All the troops are called in to kill it. Of course, gluten isn't a germ, so the real attack is on your body tissues, which happen to be in proximity to the gluten. And so now you get much sicker, much faster and much more violently then you ever did in your pre-gluten free world.

What you described is very, very typical amongst us celiacs. And while I wish I could say you will feel better tomorrow...probably not going to happen. For the lucky, a gluten reaction lasts a few days, for the majority, you feel lousy for a week to 10 days after, and slowly return to normal. For a few, the reaction can last for weeks.

From here on out, consider yourself a celiac. Be very vigilant about everything you come in contact with, even when it seems you are overreacting. It is necessary to not only save your life, but also to prevent you from a continual low-grade lousy feeling.
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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:33 AM

Thanks very much for the reply, I really appreciate it.

After 9 days I started to feel better. Now almost 3 weeks in I feel closer to normal.

Itīs strange how much of my body was affected and how long it lasted by what must have been a very small amount of gluten.

Scary to think of all the years I went back and forth to doctors and no one ever considered this as a possibility. I spent a lot of years feeling like it was all in my mind. Same for my sister. I think we were a joke at the doctorīs office who thought I was just making stuff up. No doctor ever thought to test me for Celiac. IF my sisterīs weight hadnīt dropped to 108lbs from 150lbs in 6 months, no one would have ever considered this.

Great site for information and reassurance.

Thanks again.
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