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Just Diagnosed - Questions About Results/symptoms
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Hi, I was just diagnosed last week and am feeling very overwhelmed! I've been reading through some posts over the last few days while I digest all this.

I started having a lot of joint and muscle pain and fatigue about 6 months after the birth of my first baby. My GP chalked it up to normal postpartum stuff but it kept getting worse and I eventually saw a rheumatologist who did a Celiac panel and referred me to a GI specializing in Celiac. The endoscopy confirmed the diagnosis. I'm grateful the rheumatologist took my concerns seriously -- this whole process has only been 9 months which I guess makes me lucky. I have a few questions I hope someone might be able to help answer.

1. I'm going back to the GI and to see their nutritionist in a few weeks, but curious what exactly this means on my biopsy results? "Partial to subtotal villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia and intraepithelial lymphocytosis, consistent with Celiac Disease." Google only got me so far.

2. Two symptoms I've had but failed to mention to my doctor because the joint pain was the overwhelming problem are hair loss (big clumps in the shower drain) and a strange numbness/pain around my rib cage area. Could those be related to Celiac?

3. My kind hubby went out and bought a bunch of gluten-free products but some say they were made in a facility that processes wheat. Should I avoid? How will I know how sensitive I am if I never had any digestive problems? I read on the newbie thread that I should try to avoid some of that packaged stuff anyway to start, so I guess I'll try that.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi kam318, welcome to the forums! I can't answer all of your questions, but for number 2 I'd say yes, those 2 issues could very well be related to celiac. And for number 3, if they're made in a facility that processes wheat, you may be o.k., but you might want to do a search here by product name and see if others have had any issues. I'd mostly stay away from anything processed on the same equipment as wheat, but the same facility may be o.k.

As for telling how sensitive you are, I have (had) similiar symptoms to you -- joint pain and fatigue. Most likely if you start getting painful joints along with fatigue, that would suggest being glutened. Also good plan on avoiding some of the packaged stuff to start. :)

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Welcome!

Here is a basic explanation of the Marsh Scale used to type Celiac Disease - looks like your biopsies were likely Stage 3A or 3B.

Stage 1, the cells on the surface of the intestinal lining (the epithelial cells) have more lymphocytes (white blood cells) among them than normal - Stage one is not specific to Celiac Disease.

Stage 2, the changes of Stage 1 are present (increased lymphocytes), and the crypts are larger than normal.

Stage 3, the changes of Stage 2 are present (increased lymphocytes and larger-than-normal crypts), and the villi are shrinking and flattening (atrophy). There are three levels of Stage 3:

3A--Partial villous atrophy

3B--Subtotal villous atrophy

3C--Total villous atrophy

Yes, your the symptoms you listed as well as a few others you may have dismissed as a little this or a little that will likely improve given time gluten-free.

It is best to stick to whole foods while newly gluten-free and use processed gluten-free items as treats, not for the bulk of your diet. Some people can tolerate items with all gluten free ingredients processed in a shared facility and others cannot. It is best to avoid those until you have been gluten-free for long enough to determine your level of sensitivity.

Keep reading...it's a tough and frustrating process, but it does get much easier with time.

Hang in there :)

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Welcome :)

Hair loss can be related to celiac I think, but can also happen in the months after having a baby.

It is good you got a clear diagnosis, hang in there. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster while you get the hang of it, but there is great advice and support here

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    • I figured I would update those who were wondering.  I have gotten the appt. so far moved up to August 30. I am waiting to have gene testing done via swab for all 3 of my kiddos tomorrow. My daughters celiac antibodies came up negative but her IgA is low which the ped said could cause false negative antibodies for celiac so she will need to see a GI dr. also. The pediatrician is going to call the GI to try to get them in sooner. I am keeping them all on a gluten diet until the GI dr. decides what to do. I am on the cancellation list already for my son, however I am not going to be persistent with my phone calls to them until I have the results of the gene test. I really want that result in my hand before going to the GI dr if I can. Maybe if he is positive, along with his bloodwork and my history they can forgo the endoscopy. But he will eat gluten till then.  My husband and I have been very honest and upfront with him as to what is going on and the possibility of the endoscopy and what that entails and although scared in general he seems ok after assuring him that since I have it he has me to help him every step of the way.  Going through his current diet with him I realized that he is truly on such a low gluten diet that I am actually surprised his bloodwork shows antibodies at all!  So I told him to make a list of allllll the gluten he could possibly think of eating and he needs to pound it until the GI visit or endoscopy. Funny thing is everything he keeps thinking of to want to eat...is already gluten free!  The other night we were at a friends and he asked if he could be done with his hotdog. I made him finish just the bread 😂 Thanks for your help and advise and I will keep y'all posted on both kids!  My oldest is a ok as far as all his antibodies. Just actually had a follow up for other immune issues and all his levels are now normal!
    • I like your plan Cara, I may have to include it in my sons.    Poor little guy is still very very sick. I think he is resisting and cheating, despite having the support of two other siblings and a 100% gluten-free home. 
    • Despite it being a nightmare, I did wait for my kids to get biopsies. At one point I had one severely ill child gluten-free and two more waiting having to eat it. It was worth the wait though and I think long term a biopsy may be worthwhile, especially for school. I have already had issues with schools and camps so having a firm diagnosis has been helpful. 
    • Knowing that the reaction to gluten in celiacs is an uncalled for immune system reaction, I was thinking of how a cure would be possible. Maybe a medicine that somehow turns off the immune system. The only thing that i've heard do that... HIV.  obviously that's way worse than celiac. Just some food for thought.
    • Well, you can probably get an apple or something.  You might be able to get someone to boil you some eggs.  But be careful of things like nuts that should be naturally gluten free.  They have almost always been soaked in a flavor solution that usually containes caramel coloring, "soy" (wheat) sauce and other aditives.  If I am really hungry and must eat in a Chinese restaurant, I order plain white rice and steamed vegetables.  But even so, you must monitor it carefully.  The rice sometimes has other substances added to give it a better texture, and very often the vegetables have in fact had "just a little bit" of soy sauce added.  To be fair, celiac disease is hardly ever found in East Asians, so understandably people are not tuned it to it.  Also, culturally, with the exception of fruits, it is generally thought that the flavor of foods needs to be enhanced, so it is had to find anything natural even in the "western" gorceries. Even in the western restaurants, be careful.  Fish and meat and often vegetables are usually pre-marinated. I will not even attempt to address the issue of cross-comtamination, since that is a whole higher order of things. I do know what I am talking about; I have celiac and have worked here for nearly 7 years.  
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