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How To Tell If It's A Glutening?

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Hey all,

 

So how do you know if it's a glutening or something else?

 

Since my Celiac diagnosis, I've been gluten free six months. I've never knowingly ingested any gluten since starting and have only once had pronounced symptoms of something that could have been a glutening, after eating at a friend's house. I'm still trying to figure out, when I don't feel well, if it could be the result of ingesting hidden gluten or if it is just some other bacteria or irritant. The complicating factor is that I live in Senegal, and while `i  have any stomach issues (aside from those related to gluten), there is always a small possibility that I could have been exposed to a nastier food or water-borne bacteria.

 

So, yesterday evening, out of the blue, I suddenly got quite sick, with very unpleasant D, severe nauseau, loss of appetitie, and a low-grade fever. 18 hours later, I still have the same symptoms, but less acutely. Before I got sick, I hadn't eaten anything in a few hours, except for a bag of commercially packaged water, which in theory should be mineral water, but I suppose could have been contaminated with something. That morning and midday, I had eaten at home things I cooked myself and eat regularly without incident. The day before getting sick, I had eaten out twice, including a lunch salad at a place that takes my 'allergy' very seriously, and dinner at the house of a friend who is always thinking about what is or isn't gluten free for me, though I sometimes worry she may be a bit overconfident and not consider all possible sources of contamination.

 

Now I'm trying to figure out if I could have been accidentally glutened and it took 18-24 hours to kick in, or if it's more likely I got some bad water or was exposed to some longer-incubation-period bacteria in the beginning of the week. Do these symptoms sound like a glutening or is it more likely to be bacterial? Before my diagnosis and the one time I think I was glutened since beginning the diet, I didn't used to have nauseau, so that is making me think it could be the latter option. But, I know from reading these boards that people's reaction does get worse over time, the longer they are on the diet.

 

I'm curious to know what those of you with more experience of glutenings think and how you distinguish when you've been glutened from when you may have just eaten something bad or caught a bug.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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if gluten gets me, i don't notice it right away.  i get a headache, i start to feel tired, i get a pain under my ribcage <telltale!, i turn into a total raving jerk <then i am sure....  oops.  by the time the D kicks in (24-48 hrs later), i have cleared my schedule to accomodate another 12 days of feeling like total crap.  i don't know whether the reactions are actually more severe than before i started healing or whether i'm so used to NOT feeling terrible that it feels worse in comparison.  feels like the flu for me - everything hurts.  knowing that it will pass in time keeps me calm and resting (and close to the bathroom lolz)

 

the longer i am gluten free, the better my immune system works.  i have not had so much as a sniffle in a whole entire year.  i am probably going to be asking the same questions as you when i finally *do* catch a germ.  i can distinguish pretty well between gluten and the reaction i have if i ingest too much soy.  

 

that being said:  you have read the newbie 101 thread, yes?  it has all sorts of cross-contamination advice.  if your friend is cooking for you and using, say, a cutting board that has been used to cut wheat bread or something on it, you may have gotten glutened from cc.  if they are planning to cook for you in the future, they should also read said thread.  

 

i hope you feel better and didn't catch anything 'worse'   :blink:  now i'm off to google senegal to see where in the world is that??!!  lolz  

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Notme, thanks for your response. That's good that you can at least predict the progression, recognize the early symptoms and then prepare for what's to come. I hope I can get to that point. How long did it take you to be able to distinguish between your response to gluten and soy? If the digestive reaction can take 24-48 hours to kick in, that does make it harder to pinpoint what caused it. I think that's what I'm struggling with most at the moment, knowing what any digestive system reaction means and pinpointing what is was to. Thankfully those reactions are now quite rare ever since I started the diet.

 

I have read the Newbie 101 thread, and several books on Celiac and gluten free. I've told my friend about the cutting board thing, flour in the kitchen air (her husband is an African chef and baker), etc., and she has listened. But after we discussed all that once, she is now defensive when I ask the same questions every time to check, and you just can't be as sure that someone else will think of every little possibility like you might. I'll read that post again and see if it might be something I could persuade her to read.

 

And Senegal is in West Africa by the way. It's a very pleasant place to live as an ex-pat, but a healthy immune system definitely helps!

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yes, i looked it up :)  how do you like it there?  

 

at first, i had no idea it was the soy - i had quit dairy in the beginning, so i subbed soy milk for regular milk.  it was frustrating because i kept getting sick and i knew i was being so careful!!  it probably made me clean up my act a whole lot better and be religiously using my food journal.  i read about people discovering secondary sensitivities, especially to soy and corn <probably because people commonly sub soy and corn products for gluten products i'm guessing - i know i did) so, i subbed lactaid milk instead.  i stopped having symptoms.  you know, then i got glutened and it lasted like 2 weeks (took 2 days to fully 'hit') then the next time i got glutened, it wasn't as severe and it went away pretty quick and i didn't get *all* the symptoms.  just headache, joint pain, fatigue and D.  back to the food journal.  yup, no gluten, and the only thing i had that i didn't ordinarily eat was a chocolate bar.  gluten free, but not soy free!  eventually, with experimenting, i found my balance of soy - if i don't eat too much of it, i don't get a reaction.  if i eat alot, it better be darn good and tasty because i'm going to pay for it later!!  lolz!  but it doesn't do the damage that the gluten does.  i just get to kick myself the next day :)  (haha didn't hurt) ^_^   

 

yeah, i don't let anybody cook for me that i don't want to scare away.  i've been known to leap across rooms when that sauce ladle gets too close to the gluten  <_<   polite & sick - i guess i'd rather be annoying and not sick  :P

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I actually am leaning the other direction and think it may be something else - you said that you had a low grade fever which is more likely a sign of an infection of some kind rather than a glutening.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't heard of anyone reporting a fever as a symptom of glutening.  It sounds like you could have had minor bacterial or viral infection.  If you're still feeling crummy, see if you could get an antibiotic prescribed to you just in case....feel better!!     

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Thanks, Laura. That's very reassuring if others haven't found fever to be a symptom. Hopefully it was something else then. I am feeling a bit better today, though still rather weak. But I've finally been able to eat something solid, so I think I'm on the mend.

 

As for antibiotics, I try not to take them unless I have a diagnosis and know it's necessary. There is so much interesting emerging science about the importance of a balanced and diverse population of gut bacteria to good health, influencing everything from weight to temperment and even potentially to the development of Celiac. That said, antibiotics do save lives, and when you need one, you need one.

 

Notme, yes, Senegal is great. Good weather, fun, laid back lifestyle, and very safe. It's a weird place to be living when you discover you have Celiac, though. (I was convinced my American doc must be mistaken and that I really had a parasite, but four positive blood tests, positive endoscopy, and then the immediate results of starting the diet were pretty undeniable.) When it comes to gluten, nobody here has any idea of what I'm talking about, but, on the plus side, wheat is a much less common part of the daily diet and things are cooked from fresh ingredients most of the time.

 

I have a great group of friends and they want to be understanding, but they just don't know anything about Celiac or about how it differs from standard allergies. I can tell they think I'm overdoing it when I obsess over whether the silverware has touched anything with gluten in it or ask to look at the packaging for ingredients that have been used in cooking, whether that means a restaurant worker bringing out a huge tub of mayonnaise or my friend looking through the trash for a chocolate bar wrapper. But, I don't know anyone else with Celiac personally. All my info comes from books and websites like these, and they've taught me to be hypervigilant. I wouldn't mind chancing it if the consequences were just some unpleasant toilet trips, but the long term health consequences are scary.

 

Thanks for your responses guys. They help me feel less isolated on this weird journey.

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