After 20 days of intermittent GI issues, I decided to go to the doctor. It was the same doctor who originally tested me for celiac. I told her that I went gluten free for six weeks but stopped because I’d suddenly developed gut problems in the fifth week that hadn’t gone away.
None of the foods I’d been eating seemed singularly responsible for my gut issues and my issues weren’t entirely new – just worse and far more frequent than they’ve ever previously been.
I sort of cringe to recount this because I know she means well but I’m not sure everything she said is accurate.
She told me I have IBS.
She tried to put a positive spin on it by telling me that, while inconvenient, at least IBS doesn’t progress to any worse digestive problems. She thinks drastically changing my diet to eliminate gluten may be what set it off.
I explained that I had tried gluten free because of the positive gliadin IgA result and she said she could understand my motivation. She didn’t say whether or not she thinks I have non celiac gluten sensitivity though.
She told me that I need to keep a ‘stable’ diet to avoid problems. Basically I should find what foods keep me relatively well and stick to them while also keeping variety in my diet. (How do I eat the same things all the time but still get variety? This seems like a zen koan.)
She went on to say that going gluten free cuts out a lot of variety and fiber. (I told her that I started taking extra fiber supplements and eating more beans when I went gluten free to try to maintain my level of daily fiber. My comment didn’t make any difference.)
She advised against my going gluten free again. She pointed out that it is an incredibly hard diet to maintain and that gluten sensitive people don’t suffer the intestinal damage that celiacs experience. Since I wasn’t experiencing horrible symptoms before going gluten free, the diet would not benefit me.
Instead she recommended that I take a probiotic, more fiber, and “Go have a nice bagel.”
At this point I'm pretty turned around. I know IBS is kind of a throwaway diagnosis that is given when doctors can't or won't figure out what is actually wrong. On the other hand, my symptoms got worse while I was gluten free so maybe she's right and I shouldn't worry about eating wheat? I'm so confused.