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JChi

Anyone Feel Temporarily Better After Eating Gluten Again? Maybe Withdrawal Effect?

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I have been eating a “low” gluten diet off and on for a couple of years. I have noticed some improvement but not as much as I was hoping. For instance, I seem to be able to eat gluten once a week or so without much difference, but when I would eat it a few days in a row, I would notice more frequent stomach cramps. However, recently I have had more frequent bouts of diarrhea so I tried eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, corn, processed sugar, peanuts and a few other foods I believe cause me upset stomach. I did it for three weeks but then got frustrated because I still didn't notice a huge difference. I didn't have stomach cramps but was still having very soft stool (and urgency) almost every morning. I went back to eating gluten-free only, but was having diarrhea several times a day, so I decided to eat a sandwich with regular white bread...and to my surprise, my diarrhea stopped. Has anyone else experienced this?

 

My doctor was confused by this response also but still thinks gluten is most likely to blame for my stomach troubles (also since I am HLA-DQ 2/8). She thinks I need to try eating a strict gluten-free diet for longer, at least 2 months (also eliminating dairy and sugar) to see if that helps. However, she is also sending me to a GI specialist, so need to wait until after to start the gluten-free diet. Since I have been back to eating gluten again, I haven't actually felt as bad as I was expecting (some bloating/fullness after eating, but more constipated instead of diarrhea, maybe more anxiety).

 

Some background: I have had frequent diarrhea and stomach aches ever since I can remember, had problems with dairy as a baby, diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2010, negative celiac blood panel, Vit D and B12 deficiency, anxiety

 

Anyone else with similar experience but still think gluten is the problem?

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I'm glad you are going to see a GI specialist. I hope he does the full celiac blood panel again because it sounds like celiac or a non-celliac gluten sensitivity (NCGI or NCGS)... If you have either though, you have been doing yourself damage by only eating gluten once every week or so. Yes, it is only celiacs who get the intestinal flattening but both experience increased amounts of inflammtion which is thought to increase your risk of metabolic disorders, heart disease and other health conditions. For either one, you need to be 100% gluten-free to reap the full health benefits.  I think of it like a smoker cutting back from 2 packs a day to half a pack; while that's a good thing, the smoker is still a smoker and at risk to develop plenty of health problems. It's good you are looking into answers (it took me a couple of years to get around to it myself ). 

 

I react to gluten differently based on what the food is.  This surprised me since I thought it was always the same but I've accidently glutened myself three ways in the last 9 months and one felt very different. The first two glutenings were in my first month or so gluten-free: the first was a cc in a restaurant, and the second was a gluten-free beer (started from barley though :rolleyes: ) - both reactions were immediate with bloating, stomach pain and a migraine that lasted for a few days and that was it.  The last glutening I did (accidentally) repeatedly over two months, it was a spicy McCains fries which I thought I had checked. I probably had 2-10 fries a couple of times a week. I did not notice immediate responses, which I expected from a glutening so it took me weeks to finally figure out why I was getting stomach pain in the mornings, migraines again, fatigue and general feelings of unwellness again - like I've been fighting off a flu for months without ever actually getting sick.

 

It is possible to get different reactions. It's possible not to react every time too. I've had celiac my entire life but I wasn't super sick or in pain for the entire time. It waxed and waned, although as I aged it was getting more frequent.

 

And your doctor is right about giving the gluten-free diet more time. Most around here would advise a minimum of 3 months, and many of us who have been around a bit longer advise you to go 6 months because we were still noticing improvements in our health at that point.  I can honestly say that when I went gluten-free, at week three I felt poorly because I had withdrawl from week 1-3.  Give it more time thenext time you are gluten-free (after the GI appointment).

 

Best wishes and welcome to the board.

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Thank you for your response and words of encouragement.  Yes, you are right, I need to give the diet more time.  I keep giving up when I start feeling bad, thinking that eating gluten free is not helping or that is something else is bothering me, when maybe it is just withdrawal.  I guess I just need to get over the "hump" so to speak, and hopefully, I'll be on the road to improvement.

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