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Sunshine Sassie

What Physically Happens To The Intestine When Inflamed?

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Hi guys I am still new to learning about Celiac disease. I don't understand what it means for the intestine to become inflamed? What physically happens to it? Does it swell up or just become irritated? Can it swell up to the point where you can notice it from the outside of your body?

 

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Yes, it can become inflamed enough to notice from the outside. For years before my diagnosis, it did not matter what exercises I did (including suspension sit-ups), I could never lose the slight bulge just below my waistline. When I went completely gluten free, I lost over 20 lbs in one month. Not fat. It was all inflammation. Meaning I was carrying that much extra fluid around for years in inflamed tissue.

Most importantly, the inflammation indicates a systemic inflammatory process. Which can carry a lot of health dangers including increased allergic response, respiratory issues and cardiac risk.

As to the intestines themselves, the inflammation narrows the lumen of the intestines, leading to cycles of constipation and diarrhea. It can also cause chronic gastric reflux. Celiac in general leads to decreased absorbtion of nutrients and may cause vitamin deficiencies despite eating a diet which should provide those nutrients. Most notably B vitmains, iron and calcium but not limited to those.

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Thank you for your response! It is nice to find someone who has noticed this. I am not sure if mine is this or not (currently being tested for Celiac) but it's nice to know it's a possibility and not just in my head. I have had an uneven small bulge in the middle of my stomach for sometime now and it has grown in size. Nothing dramatic enough for anyone to notice but me. I am underweight and am not pregnant so I am baffled to what it could be. I have had a stomach x-ray and three doctors examine me but they couldn't find anything.

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I think that if you asked a dozen people with celiac about their digestive issues, you'd get a dozen different responses. And though it is entirely possible to lose the bloat after going gluten free, starting to absorb nutrients properly can also mean that it may be easier to gain weight in once you go gluten-free, especially if you were of the group that tended to lose weight inexplicably when consuming gluten.

But I think how your body responds to going gluten-free is also going to have a lot to do with what organs the autoimmune response damaged before the disease was discovered. Many of gltuen's favorite organs to attack are also that play roles in weight, and the effects can go in either direction. You'll see comments from people complaining both of not being able to gain weight, and not being able to lose.

Best advice I can give you would be to also get tested for vitamin deficiencies while testing for celiac so that you can discover other hurdles that may need to be overcome. Vitamins do play a role i properly metabolizing food, so if you do have deficiencies, they could be causing problems. Also, getting hormone levels checked can help determine if a thyroid problem exists. Thyroid disease is incredibly common amongst celiacs.

Then, a couple months after going gluten free (after adjusting to the shock of changing the way you now have to eat and allowing your system to heal some as well), you may want to keep a food diary that includes calorie counts. It is a great way to pinpoint the foods that are most problematic for high calorie counts or mindless eating. You'll think twice about eating many types of foods once you realize that they can account for a huge percentage of your daily caloric intake without keeping your appetite satiated.

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NatureChick is right. I can state my own experience and a few generalities but experiences and effects differ widely from person to person. Whether Celiac or some other problem, it becomes a matter of re-learning your body responses over time. I've been gluten free for about 7 or 8 years but still wind up with occasional unexpected consequences.

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