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Upset Stomach - Gluten Or Stress?

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Hi-

 

I'm new here. My name is Brenda.

 

I was diagnosed with Celiac about 11 years ago and have been living gluten free pretty successfully for many years.

 

About 5 months ago I took on a second part time job - a good thing born out of desire rather than a need for more money - and then a month later my 90 year old legally blind father moved in with us.

 

The stress has been overwhelming. I am now on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and seeing a therapist. 

 

I have gotten sick twice in the last two weeks from gluten. One was my carelessness, the other was just a fluke.

 

I have been having stomach issues for over a month at least. A stomach ache and heartburn, but located more in my lower stomach than up near my throat.

 

I have read that stress can cause stomach upsets, and the pain is not as bad as if I had eaten gluten but still I'm worried. Obviously worrying about this just makes things worse. I should also note that I had an ulcer once when I was about 19.

 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Could it be related to gluten or just stress?

 

I would appreciate any advice anyone might offer.

 

Brenda

 

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According to my Dr. Stress can bring on Celiac symptoms. If you have a couple of Glutenings they can last a while. Try to be super careful especially under stress!! What am I saying? Never eat Gluten!! You have enuf problems! Gluten will just add to it! 

 

 

                                                                                         Bless

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I personally feel that stress can exacerbate an existing stomach issue, but it won't outright cause one all by itself. Just my opinion though!

I wonder -- has your diet changed at all? Or other habits? For example, when I'm busier/stressed I tend to eat larger meals a couple times a day which tends to get to me if its days on end. Same with too many starchy things, high fat foods, etc.

Sorry you're stressed out and not feeling well!

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I am learning that there is no such thing as "just" stress. It is just as real as say, getting a cold or eating something disagreeable with regard to how it can affect one's health and autoimmune symptoms. Because we cannot "see" stress and because it is such a part of our culture, we often disregard it as a real health issue that we need to address. I actually can see the effects of stress on my body: my Dh rash is extremely sensitive to any little bit of stress. It's really dramatic!

 

All that being said, your symptoms could certainly be related to your recent gluten ingestion. Someone recently told me that the antibodies in someone with Celiac keep rising over two weeks following gluten ingestion. I wish I could find the link to the information...

 

i hope you feel better soon. Maybe up your probiotics for a while?

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I agree with a lot of the comments above, regarding stress, as I too have had similar experiences. Also, having a partially sighted mother, it occurred to me, that perhaps,some how, you are being glutened due to your father not being able to see what he was doing. Does he have free reign in the kitchen? Especially when you are at work? It's just a thought of course, and don't want to sound like I'm blaming your dad, but I know from experience that I have to be vigilant where my mum's concerned. Are there certain things you can do to separate your ingredients in the kitchen to keep them from cross contamination? Or areas you could declare 'out of bounds', to ensure contamination does not occur?

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Stress can cause stomach problems.  I first noticed this when my MIL and then 13 year old nephew came with me to Cape Cod to help us move into our new military housing.  Nephew made it his career to bug the crap out of my MIL and he actually literally did.  He sent her flying to the bathroom on more than one occasion.  I had never seen anything like it!  Nephew's mom said it was the _____(our last name) syndrome.  Said that not only did my MIL have this but all of her sons.  And sure enough.  My husband has it too.  Put him in a stressful situation and first you see his legs going around and around like they do in those cartoons when they sort of run in place for a few seconds but don't go anywhere.  And then the Superman leap towards the bathroom.  And then the big D begins.

 

Daughter has this too.  She will get herself stressed out just before school starts and can't get off of the toilet.  She has missed soooo much school because of this.  And oddly enough the big D ends as soon as the school day does.  And no, she is not faking it as her dad claims she is.  I have had the misfortune of being in the bathroom during.  I assure you she is not faking!

 

But you might also look to one of the meds you are on.  I was put on three different antidepressants at low doses for my Fibromyalgia.  I did not tolerate two of them well at all.  They gave me horrible side effects, one of which was an upset stomach.  And my dad has had an upset stomach from some anxiety meds.  Try looking up your meds here to see what others are saying about them:

 

http://www.askapatient.com/rateyourmedicine.asp

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When you get glutened, it sets off the autoimmune response.  This in itself will cause you to feel fatigued and your body stressed.  The fact that you took on a second job AND are now a caregiver would cripple the best of us.  Get as much rest and quiet time as you can.  Delegate responsibilities in the home so no one person is taking the brunt of caregiving duties.  Be especially mindful of what you are eating.  When we get busy and distracted, mistakes are more likely to happen.  If you are concerned about the medications aggravating you stomach, just remember that the majority of anti-depressants need to be titrated down.  Always consult the prescribing doctor before making any changes. 

 

Good luck to you.

 

Colleen

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Thanks to everyone who responded with such care and concern.

 

I checked my newest medication - the anti-anxiety one - and it is gluten free. I have been on the anti-depressant (at a lower dose) for years.

 

The idea of some gluten remaining in your system for as long as two weeks is not something that I had heard but it's possible that it is contributing to my pain.

 

Flowerqueen - thank you for the insight. That thought has occurred to me. When my dad first came to live with us he made a sandwich using my mayo but there certainly could be times when he is contaminating things that I do not know about.

 

My diet has changed a great deal since my dad came to live with us. He says we eat "weird food" and too many vegetables. The first meal I made for him was grilled fish, salad, and watermelon for dessert. Way out there for sure.

 

He is more used to a fast food kind of diet which I refuse to eat - even if I could. We are consuming more processed foods and more carbs than usual. I try to make sure that they are gluten free, but just being processed might be setting my stomach off.

 

Another thing I notice that I am doing is eating and then taking a nap. Between the meds making me tired and the stress, I just can't stay awake but I know that's bad for my stomach and digestion.

 

I have upped my probiotics and water intake. Both seemed to help.

 

Thanks again. My biggest focus now is self care and reducing or coping with the stress in a positive manner.

 

Brenda

 

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Thanks to everyone who responded with such care and concern.

 

I checked my newest medication - the anti-anxiety one - and it is gluten free. I have been on the anti-depressant (at a lower dose) for years.

 

The idea of some gluten remaining in your system for as long as two weeks is not something that I had heard but it's possible that it is contributing to my pain.

 

Flowerqueen - thank you for the insight. That thought has occurred to me. When my dad first came to live with us he made a sandwich using my mayo but there certainly could be times when he is contaminating things that I do not know about.

 

My diet has changed a great deal since my dad came to live with us. He says we eat "weird food" and too many vegetables. The first meal I made for him was grilled fish, salad, and watermelon for dessert. Way out there for sure.

 

He is more used to a fast food kind of diet which I refuse to eat - even if I could. We are consuming more processed foods and more carbs than usual. I try to make sure that they are gluten free, but just being processed might be setting my stomach off.

 

Another thing I notice that I am doing is eating and then taking a nap. Between the meds making me tired and the stress, I just can't stay awake but I know that's bad for my stomach and digestion.

 

I have upped my probiotics and water intake. Both seemed to help.

 

Thanks again. My biggest focus now is self care and reducing or coping with the stress in a positive manner.

 

Brenda

Gluten doesn't stay in your system for two weeks, but they found that you can continue making antibodies 2 weeks after you stop eating gluten. They didn't check past the two weeks as that wasn't the point of the study. It was a gluten challenge so a lot longer period eating gluten than 1 glutening.

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Since I was a teenager and had a catastrophic life event happen, when I get stressed out I get bad stomach acid and heartburn that can turn into an ulcer.  Very painful.  If it bothers you enough, talk to your doctor about maybe taking an antacid, it doesn't have to be an RX one or every day.  Also, like you said about maybe it being the processed food setting something off, when I eat just crap in general it will cause the same stomach response as stress.  

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