Good afternoon everyone:
Over the last 7-8 years or so I started to experienced intense food cravings and compulsive overeating of pasta and bread,and later severe GI problems that caused hemmoroids, bleeding, and long periods of bloating/constipation/discomfort. I approached my doctor about it approx. 3 years ago, and she suggested that it was a common fiber/water intake issue. However, despite changing my diet and taking supplements, the problems continued to worsen. I'm 33 years old right now.
Back in March 2013 I did a "colon cleanse," which changed everything for me. The 5-day juice/fiber fast completely eliminated my food cravings/overeating issues and really helped me to more clearly identify how different foods affected me. After talking to a girlfriend who has celiac's (she wasn't diagnosed until age 26!), I went gluten-free for a month, and then tried re-introducing beer. OUCH! After another cleanse and some more trial and error (both on purpose and by accident), I have become MUCH more sensitive to gluten. I have been extremely careful, reading labels and asking questions, but my last slip-ups involved eel sauce on sushi, and more recently, tofu that was deep-fried in shared oil (oops). I have become quite familiar with the increasingly severe GI effects of being "glutened," which usually hit starting two days after an exposure, and are very intense for least a week. I don't seem to be back to normal for at least 3 weeks, however. It has now been almost 3 weeks since my last slip-up (I think)... I was starting to feel better, but I've noticed that hard-to-digest foods (such as dairy, even caffeine) seem to "bring back" the gluten gut symptoms at times. I had caffeine over the weekend, and I've really been hurting the past few days.
I've been vegetarian since a fairly young age (meat never tasted good to me) and probably ate entirely too much pasta and bread over the years (particularly in college). I am also lactose intolerant, but the symptoms are usually just stomach pain/bloating, not anything intestinal. I have not officially been tested or diagnosed with celiac's, but I have consulted with my doctor. She said that my symptoms sounded like a celiac-type reaction, and suggested that if it makes me feel better, I should just avoid gluten-containing foods (which I have done).
I am scared to death of going back to eating gluten so that I could be tested. So really, what is to be gained from testing, other than a confirmation of what I already know? Could celiac affect me if I were to become pregnant? Are there other long-term health complications that only testing/diagnosis could identify? What are the alternatives to the blood tests that could provide some information? Is a colonoscopy worth it? What would you do if you were in my situation, and why?
Thank you in advance!!